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Flash Review 1, 10-16: Burn Baby
Tracing the Tracers of Hurricane Latsky
By Maura Nguyen Donohue
Copyright 2001 Maura Nguyen Donohue
NEW YORK -- Heidi Latsky is a force
of nature. This woman can slice and balance, slash and burn her way through movement
like nobody's business. On Saturday night Latsky, a hometown favorite, and her
cast of 24 dancers and three live musicians brought in a packed house to Danspace
Project at St. Mark's Church. It was as great to see such an audience, during
a time of event cancellations and sub-par turnout, as it was to witness Latsky's
ferocity. Though the evening stumbled through some painful silliness early on,
it ended with incredible power and poignancy.
Latsky's opening duet with Todd Allen,
after a rousing musical introduction from Marty Beller and Roderick L. Jackson,
was titled "Just Watch!" So, I did as she asked. I didn't take any notes, or examine
or prewrite my review. I just watched and they just danced. Watching "I'm Dying
to Lift You," however, was something I could have gladly passed on if not for
fine performances of the elegant Bella Malinka and the amusing Jim Martin. After
an unfortunately brief solo -- brilliantly danced Saturday by the vibrant Catey
Ott -- the dance quickly descends into the kind of quirky silliness that would
demolish any discussion of the importance or worth of dance during times like
these. It's not that comedy isn't valuable in the wake of incredible horrors and
grieving -- it is -- but today I just don't have the stomach for absurd butt dances
Thankfully, Latsky chose to provide
her searing solo "What would you have done?" excerpted from "Worst Case Scenario,"
immediately after. This is one of those dances that tears through you and leaves
you gasping. She carves her way through the space with powers greater than any
human should possess, and especially not one as tiny as her. She thrashes and
gyrates herself beyond real time into an optical illusion, moving so fast our
eyes can't keep up, and we end up watching tracers of her limbs flying through
the space. This dance grabs you in your gut and invites such a visceral experience
from the audience as to incite spontaneous combustion throughout the hallowed
sanctuary at St. Mark's Church.
"One Apart" closed the program by
finally putting the, 'til now over-qualified, ensemble of first-class dancers
to work. It begins slowly and sneaks up on you until there are bodies spinning
and flying everywhere. I finally understood why these dancers were here and have
been slide-step-stepping themselves through uninspired transitions. The dancing
was formidable, the moments profoundly moving and the end heartbreakingly beautiful.
This was worth it.
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