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Flash Review 1, 2-16: Sterile Fascination
Mark Jarecke's "Auto.Publik"

By Ursula Eagly
Copyright 2001 Ursula Eagly

Last night at Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church, Mark Jarecke presented "Auto.Publik" -- 50 minutes of stylish, emotionally distant dancing set to electronic music. Looking as though they just stepped from the pages of an avant-garde fashion spread, the six women dancers wear structured white tunics and pants, pale makeup, and punked-out hair. Austere pillars of different widths bisect the stage, and the dancers move through them in shifting patterns. The one element that saves the production from aesthetic slickness is the imperfection of every possible audience sight-line; the view is always partially obstructed by pillars. As audience members walk to different vantage points, their movement becomes a part of the dance as well.

"Auto.Publik" is Jarecke's first evening-length piece, created in collaboration with architect Illya Azaroff and hipster filmmaker and Caipirinha Productions founder Iara Lee. While Lee's film projections (which appear primarily at the beginning of the performance) do not add to the piece, her fashionable, techno-savvy style reverberates throughout.

The choreography has an electronic quality to it. Often, several performers stand still while a pair or a trio dances in unison, each limb working with intention. Heavy heads bring torsos to knees as the six dancers step back, jump angularly to the side, and slide to the floor. A relatively small movement vocabulary results in repeated motifs, like a computer program randomly generating patterns within a given structure - sterile, but also inexplicably fascinating.

Mark Jarecke continues at Danspace Project through Sunday, with an 8:30 curtain tonight and tomorrow, and a 7:30 curtain Sunday. For more information, please visit the Danspace Project web page on our site.

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