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Flash Review 2, 11-9: Music & Muscles
More Flexing from Fagan & Dancers
By Darrah Carr
Copyright 2001 Darrah Carr
NEW YORK -- Garth Fagan's 11-member
company impressed the audience at the Joyce Theater Tuesday with a display of
incredible musicality and technical prowess. After each of the evening's three
pieces, it was clear that if dance is meant to be an expression of the music,
one can go no farther than this. In "Trips and Trysts," set to music by Wynton
Marsalis, the dancers all but personified different jazz instruments. During the
second-to-last section, nine performers circumvented the stage, with more than
enough precise unison to make their renowned "Lion King" choreographer proud.
They kept moving after the music stopped, yet, in the silence, I felt I could
still hear the music through their bodies.
Having enjoyed his interpretation
of silence, I was equally impressed by Fagan's use of stillness in the New York
premiere of "Music of the Line/Words in the Shape." In sync with John Adams's
cyclical score, Fagan juxtaposed furious sheenahs and quiet balances. His dancers
can arrest their motion by extending a leg, or dropping into a deep plie from
a turn. At times, two or three would configure their balances together, creating
beautiful sculptures from beautifully sculpted bodies. It reminded me of the childhood
game "Statues"-- where one is pushed into a spin and must balance wherever one
lands. In this case, however, it was the hand of the choreographer that had given
the push, the pull, and the re-adjustment during rehearsal, leaving us to simply
enjoy the series of unfolding shapes.
In "Mix 25," the shape of one dancer
in particular caught my eye. Chris Morrison is a sublime performer. He controls
every inch of his lengthy limbs with a blend of sharp precision and utter grace.
Featured in the section "Shackles," a very moving, yet not overly literal depiction
of captivity, Morrison is the kind of dancer who makes one nod one's head and
pause in reflection for a moment, before bursting into applause. Garth Fagan Dance
runs through Sunday at the Joyce.
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