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Flash Review 2, 3-8:
Fresh, Fresh, Fresh!
New Choreographers on Track
By Jill Emerson
Copyright 2001 Jill Emerson
I love watching these
curated smorgasbords: a good variety of choice pickin's, and Dance
Theater Workshop's Fresh Tracks panel made good selections this
year. It seeks creative, dynamic, talented choreographers to give
more exposure and the DTW stamp of approval. Last night's show was
the last of the program that was presented February 27 and 28 and
March 6 and 7 at The Flea.
Gerald Casel is truly
a dancer's choreographer. His movement is fun to dance and it displays
all the technique that dancers strive to perfect. "Triangle," choreographed
in 1999, is a work for Casel and three women set to the music of
Edward Ratliff. Casel's schoolbook pacing and use of symmetry consistently
delivers solid dances. "Triangle" was all shapes and precision,
but not without breath and flow. Presented with that downtown look
of ennui, the result was quite mod.
"Ruth and Judith" proved
a sweet contrast to the carved exactitude of "Triangle." Heather
Harrington scaled the mountain of a typical gesture piece and staked
out a winner. Molding hands, grabbing, pointing, and slashing were
all strong indicators of sisterhood and childhood. Harrington incorporated
familiar symbols to ground the piece in the everyday. An important
component of "Ruth and Judith" was the music (by Cam Miller), which
blended piano twinkling with the voices of children. Often the children
raised their voices to a shout and the dancers echoed them, silently
demanding that the audience pay attention. The audience clearly
was a part of this piece. Dancers Kelly Grigsby and Harrington often
looked to us for a sort of parental approval.
"Ikuko's Alter Ego" demanded
the audience's attention in a different way. "I wish I was tall.
I wish I had tits," shrilled the small actress, Ikuko Akari. Placing
a strip of red tape across the lip of the stage, Akari created a
balance beam to landscape her thoughts. And what fun it is to get
in Akari's head. It contains the most warped, amazing balance beam
routines I have ever seen. That's how Akari likes them. Her ego
can quickly move from anxiety to the mundane. ("I need lotion. Everybody
needs lotion.") Gyorgy Ligeti's music was incorporated with Akari's
text in the sound mix by Akira Tanaka. By the way, why aren't there
more funny dances out there? This one was a breath of fresh air.
Moving from one fun piece
to another, Cintia Chamecki and Flavia Costa presented "No More
Blues" with live electric guitar performed by Rogerio Sabatella.
The performers immediately cued the audience that this would be
a piece about rhythm by starting with the lights out (lighting design
for all pieces was by Philip W. Sandstrom) as they played tambourines
and guitar. Soon the dancers' tapping feet became the instruments:
clean, crisp sounds and intricate riffs not often seen by DTW audiences
were on display. Tappers have fun, and the interaction between Sabatella
on guitar and the two tappers was highly pleasurable. Then, lights
out again, and just the primal rhythm of the taps.
In an evening of convincing
performers and hyper-aware dancers who demand you watch, Maria Hassabi
stood out. In her piece, "sketch one," Hassabi only once stood up
completely. All that time scooting along the floor and the piece
remained captivating. It seemed to be about patterns, habits, and
sketching the bodily repetitions as if to map out a clearer picture.
And finally, we saw "Bathtub
Trio for Three Women" by Cleo Mack. (Only two out of the sixteen
dancers of the evening were men.) "Bathtub Trio" was well-rehearsed;
the attitude, that of a fish out of water (or woman out of bathtub,
if you will), was consistent throughout the piece from all three
performers. The piece was a little long and angsty. But its women
offered an exciting strength. It was great to see how comfortable
they were in their own skin, flinging their bodies off center to
the music of the breath and Beethoven, yet entirely in control.
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