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Flash Review 1, 1-29:
Food for Thought
What it's Like to be Human
By Jill Emerson
Copyright 2001 Jill Emerson
It was more than Food
for Thought. Food for heart, food for laughter, food for wanting
to get out of your chair and be like a kid. I thoroughly enjoyed
the evening of trios curated by Heidi Latsky Friday at Danspace
Project at St. Mark's Church, and let me tell you why.
The night, the first
of three this weekend to benefit local food programs for the poor,
began with a video of Terry Dean Bartlett at his 1985 dance recital.
"Vanishing Point '85," choreographed by "Miss Kate," was genius
because it defied the audience's expectations. Who knew that Danspace
Project would present a "Miss Kate" jazz routine from the '80s at
St. Mark's? (We've all either been in or have had to sit through
one of these things. My own were performed at Jeralyn's School of
Dance.) Terry Dean Bartlett had another surprise for us yet to come.
Though Friday's program
displayed a range of human emotion and dance styles, some themes
did arise. Athletic partnering and an abdication of the body added
thrills in "Give (X) Take," "How to Get Right With God," and "Tangle."
"Winning," "Table 4," and "RAW(hide)" gave lessons
in being playful. "Vanishing Point" was all that and more.
In "Give (X) Take," performed
by the choreographer, Yoel Cassell, and an arresting Eileen Schwartz,
I had the feeling the performers were beating each other even when
not touching -- yet they never made eye contact and didn't care
enough about the other to actually want to fight. What made the
missed connections and the physical fury more interesting was that
it was danced with a contrasting delight. I have a feeling Schwartz
and Cassell enjoyed the struggle. Tom Aldrich played Concerto in
D minor after Marcello by Bach.
by JoAnna Mendl Shaw, was the archetype of a kid, and what a sweet,
charming kid it was. Mendl Shaw transformed herself from a broken
toy to an enabler of playfulness. There's magic in children, and
a dance about being a child is more charming when there's an actual
child performing. One question: Is Techno Bop It the Mr. Mouth of
In "How To Get Right
With God," the performers go to any length to be human, even if
that means biting the knee to pick it up in order to locomote. Walter
Dundervill has a strangely beautiful way of moving -- can biting,
slapping, and slamming yourself approach the sublime? Yes. There
is beauty in our own dysfunction.
is what we saw in "Table 4." To the sounds of clinking glasses,
murmurs, and Italian serenades, three waiters interacted with a
table and three dishtowels in every way possible. I liked the lifts
that stalled mid-air, the closeness of the performers while wrestling
with the table, and the use of the table as a fourth dancer. Joel
Sherry should show his piece at Tavern on the Green for tips!
Edward Winslow and Christina
Briggs have created a movement vocabulary of gymnastic, aggressive
partnering that requires impeccable timing. They are able to do
this fierce movement in a manner that makes it look incredibly natural
and soft. In "Tangle" bodies intertwined; the performers used each
other to the point of exhaustion.
I've never seen a dancer
eat cigarettes, fried chicken, and a fly before. And this was all
in one dance! "RAW(hide)" cracked me like a whip. Carrie Ahern provided
campy entertainment with a western theme. She's brilliant with physical
Finally, the surprise.
Terry Dean Bartlett did a "Historical Reconstruction" of his recital
dance from 1985! He must have paused that videotape a thousand times,
because the "reconstruction" was accurate down to the "I'm so cool
-- but what's that step?" facial expression. Kicked Ass.
Sponsored by Arts Against
Hunger, you could get all this for just five bucks and two cans
of food. The weekend's other programs were curated by Wendy Perron
and Susan Osberg.
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