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Flash Review 2, 12-3: Remember Their
Remember Project 2001: Life at its Three-Ring Best
By Susan Yung
Copyright 2001 Susan Yung
NEW YORK -- This year's installment
of The Remember Project /Dancers Responding to AIDS, founded by Hernando Cortez
and Denise Roberts in 1991, was expanded to benefit victims of the World Trade
Center disaster. If it has been a cathartic event for the dance world in years
past, it was twofold this year, once again held at Dancespace Project at St. Mark's
Church, this time on World AIDS Day. In the 2-4 PM segment which I saw, the generosity
of spirit and talent was palpable, reaffirming the importance of supporting the
arts and the diverse creators in our midst.
With Beverly Blossom and Senta Driver
making introductions and remarks, a great sense of community came across. Where
else in the world could nearly 90 recognized dance companies/artists perform over
the span of 12 hours, flowing in and out of a working church which transforms
into a theater and back again, with nary a hiccup? It's a testament not just to
the cultural riches of the City, but to the professionalism of the artists and
organizers who donated their time and talent.
A number of the 15 different dances
in this block were elegiac, if non-specific, in nature. In Martita Goshen's Earthworks's
"Small Prayers," one dancer moved off into the shadows after executing rich, assured
arm movements. The four dancers crossed their hands over their hearts to conclude
the work. Edisa Weeks contributed "Fall," an elegant, intriguing study of loss
and remembrance. The performers executed a stylized ballet vocabulary, making
large looping ovals with their arms. Coming together, they formed an upward spiralling
cone after a chain of grand jumps in second around the stage's periphery. Scattered
autumn leaves lent an air of decay and poignant loss.
KM & Co.'s "15 Gestures... For All
That Struck the Earth," choreographed by Kristen Mangione to sacred music, employed
prayer-like gestures; the dancers leaned back, torqued slightly, and fell softly
away, in turn. "Consolation" by Ground Floor Dance Collaborative choreographed
by Cathleen Sweeney, had the five women, dressed all in white, supporting one
another between swirling, lyrical phrases and poses in flat back, attitude derriere.
"Zinphora Doesn't Tell," by Barbara Grubel Projects, featured three dancers who
leaped backward skillfully, and group hugged around one man who collapsed to the
ground. This work would profit from a bit more rehearsal.
Some of the dances were extremely
physical. Freespace Dance's excerpt of "Fourplay" (choreography by Donna Scro
Gentile, Maureen Glennon, Gaspard Louis, and Sebastian Smeureanu) featured gymnastic,
complex interweavings and partnerings. The exceptionally strong dancers took turns
lifting each over the back in a seamless, well rehearsed mobius strip of movement.
"Just Watch!," by Heidi Latsky,
played with the score's hyperactive bongo line, to which the duet shimmied their
legs as if they'd been sent an electrical shock. Moving rapidly through a sequence
of echappes, lunges, and heart-baring port de bras, the piece was jazzy and infectiously
Tiffany Mills Company performed an
excerpt of "Half-Hinged," costumed in cobalt blue, with wrist guards. Mills's
movement reminded me a bit of that of Trisha Brown, with whom she studied. Some
inventive phrasing included the dancers sliding into a snaking chain on the floor,
and a male duet with powerful partnering. Nell Breyer's "Excerpts - 'X'," while
energetic, was somewhat lean on choreographic ideas. It relied quite a bit on
vertical jumps and included frantic sequences that felt like movement to fill
Many of the dances celebrated life
in all its different guises. In "Hearts Divided," by Astrid Von Ussar, the dramatic
performers told a story of love triangle, and executed a form of bold, aggressive
ballet, including big attitude turns with torsos stretched in convex shapes. Peter
Pucci choreographed "In Time Like Air" for Infinity Dance Theatre performed by
Kitty Lunn, whose radiant stage presence was complemented by the intricate manipulation
of her wheelchair, which alternated between surrogate legs and an alter ego. Laura
Glenn's "Sands of Time" featured sustained lifts -- it began with a woman suspended
upside down, a motif repeated later on. The pair, in an embrace, rocked one another
reassuringly in the closing moments.
Humor and lightheartedness was abundant
on the program as well. In an excerpt of "Frappez La Rue, Jacques," Dance Group
Lonne Moretton, in Moretton's choreography, turned an elegant gathering of two
couples into a rollicking sequence worthy of the Three Stooges, complete with
eye-pokings. In a second song, the two men -- left dazed, confused, and prone
after the first song -- fought a turf war (the "skinny dog" won the prize). The
foursome showed an appealling openness and a deft comic touch with Moretton's
precisely timed sight gags.
KDNY (Kathleen Dyer)'s "East Wistwaddle
Ladies" (excerpt), in a folk dance mode, played with prissy stereotypes of small-town
women. The trio gaily tossed their skirts from side to side, and, in arabesques,
linked arms like skaters. "Balkan Landscape," by Tina Croll Dance, had no choice
but to bring the house down. With a thirteen-piece band and sixteen dancers. The
modern dancers skipped and chasseed joyously, and the five traditional folk dancers
closed with a rousing line dance orchestrated by a captain barking changes. It
was a paean to community and to the joy of life at its three-ring best.
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