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Flash Review 3, 11-3: Crisp's Kink
Stuck in Traffic on the Road to Nowhere
By Angela Jones
Copyright 2001 Angela Jones
BERLIN -- Australian choreographer
Rosalind Crisp has an apt name. Given her movement style, it is curious that Crisp
should choose to call her company stella b. As seen over the weekend at the Tanzfabrik,
Rosalind Crisp and her dancers Nalina Wait and Katy McDonald are among some of
the cleanest, sharpest movers I've seen in studio concerts. Whether a gesture
involved a tiny move of a toe or a wild, arms-flailing jump through the air, it
had a clear, crisp intention. So crisp that the movement in general appeared very
inhuman, varying between strangely robotic or animalistic and seemingly always
on a two-dimensional plane. The music, mixed live by David Corbet, echoed this
sense of coldness, creating a thick atmosphere through which the dancers poked
toes, elbows and fingers.
Although there were two pieces presented,
"Kink" and "Traffic," one finished and one a work-in-progress, they were virtually
indistinguishable aside from costume and lighting choices. A solo almost inevitably
followed a lengthy period of the dancers standing still in space, and each dancer
always occupied her space even when she was part of a duet. The movement phrases
were also played with in a classical manner, with theme and variations. Although
each movement had a certain tension and intention to it, each piece as a whole
seemed to have a general lack of direction with no rhythmical variations. Individual
movements strung together with no significant change quickly made these dances
predictable. With no real variation in rhythm or mood, they never moved forward
but repeated themselves. Perhaps that was the intention of "Traffic," but even
the idea of being stuck often contains a journey inside it.
Perhaps this kind of research of
pure movement is simply something I've seen so much of in the States, that the
product no longer interests me. Perhaps to a German audience, it might seem more
unusual or exploratory. But given my American mentality and bias, I would have
to say that when something is presented to the public, I prefer to see a developed
product and not a process on stage.
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