featured photo

The Kitchen

Brought to you by
Body Wrappers; New York Flash Review Sponsor
the New York manufacturer of fine dance apparel for women and girls. Click here to see a sample of our products and a list of web sites for purchasing.
With Body Wrappers it's always
performance at its best.
Go back to Flash Reviews

Go Home

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.

Go back to Flash Reviews
Go Home