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Flash Review 2, 12-18:
Three Times a Charm
Third Rail Kicks it at the Cunningham
By Darrah Carr
Copyright 2001 Darrah Carr
NEW YORK -- On the eve
of its first anniversary, Third Rail Dance (co-directed by Tom Pearson,
Brian Weaver, and Jennine Willett) has already assembled an impressive
body of work and a team of skillful dancers and designers. This
past weekend at the Cunningham Studio, the young troupe presented
a well-balanced program, featuring two dances by each of the collective's
Weaver opened the concert
with a duet he choreographed for himself and Pearson. Aptly named
"Through the Keyhole," the piece provided a glimpse into the various
phases of male intimacy, from tense power struggles to tender embraces.
It was a well-crafted, satisfying dance, yet some of the partnering
could have been further explored, especially given this pair of
talented, versatile dancers.
From the same choreographer,
however, "The Gift" was riveting. Sitting on an examining table,
behind two white screens, Weaver was lit from the back, so that
his silhouette was projected on the canvas. We watched a parade
of nurses take his temperature, test his reflexes, and administer
a shot -- rituals that are familiar to everyone, but comforting
to no one. Peteris Vasks's haunting score, coupled with Weaver's
looming shadow, made this doctor's visit particularly ominous. He
paused, head in hand. A small swallow, a slow breath, were caught
and magnified by the shadow, revealing the vulnerable humanity of
this patient. As the nurses exited, Weaver danced alone. His white
hospital gown fluttered, ghost-like, suggesting he was a shadow
of his former self. The opening shadow was then realized to be a
dreadful foreshadowing of a terminal prognosis.
Pearson's solo "Cenotaphe"
was also emotionally charged. A center spotlight delineated his
dance space and framed a curved piece of rope lying on the ground.
Its twisted fibers symbolized Pearson's tangled emotional state,
as he wrapped the rope around his neck and wrists, before finally
freeing himself and moving deliberately away. In "Uktena," which
won an award for Excellence in Choreography during the 2001 New
York International Fringe Festival, Pearson deftly combined narrative
text, modern dance vocabulary, and dramatization to relay a Native
American myth. The pleasantly odd juxtaposition of abstract movement
and more literal action, such as husking corn, created a richly
Willett's pieces had
less to do with being emotionally moving and more to do with just
moving. Really moving. She knows how to play with movement in time
and space and keeps one's eye constantly engaged. In "Last Call,"
a solo for Weaver, Willett sent him tumbling through diagonal crosses,
with bold somersaults and impressive shoulder stands. Weaver, proving
himself to be a fluid mover and superb technician, more than rose
to the occasion. "Tamarisk," Willett's latest work and the concert's
closing piece, burst with lush, buoyant, full-bodied movement. Marissa
Nielsen-Pincus made a particular impression, moving through her
solo with feline grace. Also performing throughout the evening were:
Julia Behringer, Steven Dunlap, Courtney Jaudon Miller, Tanya Perez,
Mayuna Shimizu, and Susan Brandis Slavin.
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