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Flash Review 3, 2-23:
Integrating 'High' & 'Folk' Art
Darrah Carr's Irish-Modern Experiment
By Ursula Eagly
Copyright 2001 Ursula Eagly
The differences between
'high' art and 'folk' art have been deconstructed by countless scholars.
But Darrah Carr has discovered that integrating the two is not as
seamless in practice as it is in theory. Darrah Carr Dance is currently
performing its unique blend of traditional Irish and modern dance
at the Joyce SoHo -- as seen last night, an admirable and fun, if
not yet entirely successful experiment.
Irish and modern works
follow each other on the program. A few pieces even use both techniques
at once. The most ambitious work in this respect is "Whirl." Several
dancers wear Irish step shoes on their hands, and exchange weight
between the hands and feet much in the way that modern dancers do.
Contemporary shapes shared the same movement phrases as stiff, Irish
The choreography's largest
difficulties lay in its failure to appreciate the limitations of
the production. While several of the performers danced beautifully,
their technique was not uniformly brilliant. Unfortunately, the
choreography was the sort (athletic, often executed in unison) that
would have benefited greatly from technically immaculate dancing.
Similarly, the stage at the Joyce SoHo has no wings. Dancers would
stand by the side walls and paste on their performing smiles when
their entrance was cued. It would have been interesting to see Carr
tackle these issues instead of dodge them: how can non-technical
dancers move in interesting ways? How can all of the dancers be
on stage for the duration of each piece?
Darrah Carr Dance continues
at Joyce SoHo through Sunday, with performances at 8 p.m. For more
information, please call 212-334-7479.
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