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Flash Review 1, 5-15: Choreography that Communicates
Stronach Dances Through the Fourth Wall

By Chris Dohse
Copyright 2001 Chris Dohse

Tami Stronach's three dances, seen Saturday at Williamsburg Arts neXus, are full of direct, expressive dancing, highlighted by the performance of Stronach herself. Her choreography is carried by each of her dancers' personalities and brims with communication. She finds several guileless ways to involve the audience in her experience. For her improvisatory duet with Tony Ramos, "CD Rama," audience members contribute the soundtrack by bringing in music from home. Before "Love Particles," bubble gum is circulated among the crowd, to be chewed during a specific section of the dance. We also answer questionnaires about our memories of first kisses, which are read aloud.

A solo, "Mother Tongue," opens the show. Technically astute, with multiple cells of screen projection -- images culled from Stronach's parents' archeological work in Iran when she was a child, created by Katya Moorman and Karen Dunn -- the dance is visually quite striking. It's not always exactly clear what Stronach is dancing "about" in relation to the images behind her, but a sense of storytelling is always present in her vocabulary. Her phrases have the clarity of language, punctuated by gestures that sometimes echo those seen previously in the film.

Ramos and Stronach make an engaging pair in "CD Rama." The musical selections Saturday night were humor heavy, including the theme to "Wonder Woman" and "The A Team." Stronach displays the same kind of presence when she thinks on her feet as she did in Neta Pulvermacher's "Jill in Brazil" -- a combination of acting and movement invention that is immediately inclusive, always reaching beyond the fourth wall. When the pair indulge in "pure" movement interludes between musics, their form is as emotionally evocative as their schtick is entertaining.

"Love Particles" presents an all-girl, gowned romp where slumber partygoers compare their boyfriends and revel in their crushes. Jessie Green, as "Dolores," performs a fine comic monologue. Fred Astaire croons as we all blow bubbles cheek to cheek. Perhaps whimsy is stretched a bit too far here, but Stronach's craft is always assured. Four audience members are pulled onto the dance floor for an appropriately gawky finale.

 

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