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Flash Review 2, 3-26: Introducing...Introdans!
Psycho Killers & Other Thrills at the New Vic
By Sandra Aberkalns
Copyright 2001 Sandra Aberkalns
I don't know about you, but I'm tired
of the cold, snow, rain, wind, the Wall Street roller coaster, April 15 looming
over me like a bad hair day (tax day for those of you in denial or outside the
US), and a plethora of other minor annoying nuisances. I really needed a shot
of dance that was bright, colorful, whimsical, funny, and witty, with just a touch
of romance. How do you spell relief? I-N-T-R-O-D-A-N-S.
Friday evening at the New Victory
Theater, on 42nd Street, Introdans Ensemble for Youth, a company from The Netherlands,
made its New York debut. If you are also in need of an enchanting evening then
you still have time to catch this wonderful company in a program titled "Party."
I would like to begin this review
with some general observations. At 75 minutes (no intermissions and a curtain
that is one hour earlier than the other shows in the area) this concert is the
perfect length. Children don't have to time to get bored, and the adults get a
double treat. They get to see a great concert, and then can actually get a table
at one of the hot theater district restaurants, as all the other shows have started
when this one finishes.
Adults: Do not let the "Ensemble
for Youth" in Introdans's moniker scare you off. The program is fun whether you
are 6 or 96 years old. There is something for everyone. There are jokes that only
the adults will catch on to, the middle ground that tickles everyone's fancy,
and then those priceless moments when the children are squealing with delight
and before you know it you are laughing as hard as they are and you don't know
The dancers are lovely technically
and in their generosity of spirit. They have no problems showing their individuality,
but when it comes to unison work everyone is absolutely together. It was also
such a pleasure to see dancers who really look at each other and are equally open
when looking out into the audience.
I also have to do a quick rave about
the program layout. It is so refreshing to see, for each work, the date and on
what company the ballet had its world premiere, followed by the date it was premiered
by Introdans. The only thing I would recommend is that the stager's name should
be moved up underneath that of the choreographer's (hey, hey, you hecklers keep
it down out there).
So what was on the program?
"Catch!" by Dutch native Conny Janssen
was delightful. At the beginning it seemed to be about the catching of the movement
of the person on the stage by the next person entering. However, this quickly
evolved into catching imaginary and not so imaginary items (including some really
cool glowing red balls). I don't want to give away the punch line, but there is
a great scene with balloons. The ladies enter with their balloons and naturally
the men have to have bigger balloons.... But what happens when they meet? Well,
you'll just have to go see for yourself. The work elicited a lot of oohs and aahs
from the kids by its finish, and is quite magical.
Daniel Ezralow's "Psycho Killer,"
to the Talking Heads music of the same name, is a hoot. Four dancers dressed in
military camouflage with the requisite shades are bound together at the ankles
by bright, neon green rubber bands. Everyone had a good laugh with this one. One
would think that a Hydra this wide wouldn't have so many movement options, but
this one is very gifted! Doo Bop, the Twist, and Rockette style kicks describe
only a fraction of the moves performed by this multi-talented psycho killer! (Click
here to see a video clip; you'll need RealPlayer to open the video.)
"The Debate" by Ton Wiggers, one
of the artistic directors of the company, is an excerpt from a larger work, "Bal
Masque." The kids liked this one but I couldn't begin to tell you why this work
appealed to them. However, I can tell you what I saw: Two very tall, well-proportioned
men that were VERY easy to look at. I don't know what, if anything, Mr. Wiggers
said to the dancers about where this debate was taking place, but as far as I'm
concerned they were Olympian Gods.
As the world seems to move faster
and faster and everyone is becoming an insomniac, David Parsons's "Sleep Study"
gets funnier as time goes by. In this work everyone is laughing at the same time
but for different reasons. The kids are laughing because some of the twitching
must look like their dogs chasing rabbits in their sleep, and the adults are laughing
because they know that this is what they must look like when they are dreaming
about chasing their stocks down the toilet! Naturally, there is also the one guy
who is totally unaffected by anything and sleeps like a log -- until...
The last two works were by Dutch
choreographer Hans van Manen. The first, "Bits and Pieces," is in two movements.
The first consists of a classical pas de deux in which we hear the thoughts of
the woman. At first I thought the voiceover was on tape, but then I learned that
the commentary was live, and would be different every night. The only contribution
from the man was an "Ugh" as he had to lift the woman. The second part of this
dance had to do with a remote that beeped. At the start it is the choreographer
who is in control (he uses the remote to direct the dancers' movement), but the
dancers aren't dummies and quickly turn the tables on him! The funniest moment
was when a child in the audience started making the beeping sound in his own effort
to take over the world (where are Pinky and the Brain when you need them?).
"In the Future," with music by David
Byrne, sees all of the dancers in unitards that are a brilliant green in the front
and red in the back. The movement is very sanitary with just a touch of quirkiness.
As the dancers move in lines, reminiscent of films from the 1950s showing the
ideal office, Byrne is describing what the future will be like. One of my favorite
lines is, "In the future it will be impossible to tell the women from the men
-- even in bed." However, even in a Kafkaesque society, emotions and relationships
endure and humanity continues on its never-ending journey.
You too can "Party" with Introdans
Ensemble for Youth through April 1, so go have some fun. For showtimes, click
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