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Flash Review 2, 6-1: Commitment
Imago Falls Just Short in "I Dos"

By Maura Nguyen Donohue
Copyright 2001 Maura Nguyen Donohue

Imago Dance Theater's "Knee Deep in I Dos," seen last night at University Settlement, uses the idea of the nuptial agreement as springboard into a rather light-hearted look at everyday commitments. While commitment can be of the grit-your-teeth and make-the-leap-of-faith variety, I was reminded that it can also reveal itself as a promise. While this fresh, young dance company was often lacking the kind of strong intent that could bring it, and us, to a new level it does offer promising beginnings.

So: This assignment was suggested to me as one of Dance Insider's resident newlyweds. But, in truth, it was the idea of the other commitments that brought me in -- finding as I am recently that a concerted commitment to my own company is hitting me in a significantly more profound way than bowing to Vietnamese and Chinese ancestors did. But, Erica Murkofsky leads her dancers into personal explorations that don't delve too deeply. The evening is full of charm and vitality. "Fierce Attachment," danced by Murkofsky and Meredith Mandel, is the most finely refined work. This is a talented company of nice dancers. The younger members are full of vitality, but haven't settled into their bodies in quite the same manner. The duet shows two dancers seasoned enough to allow each moment its fulfillment versus crashing through dances.

Of course, crashing through a dance isn't a bad thing if you're Nicole Rosenblum, whose fiery performance of "At the Seams" reclaims a work that teetered early on with too many jazzy movements to befit the story set up on stage. A trio for Tara Glazier, Rosenblum and Antonietta Vicario "Tangle," would stand well on its own as a work of well-executed partnering, especially without the extraneous pretense of a family portrait. "What we do," a dance theater piece about waitressing, and "Audition" are both comedic looks at the hassles and humiliations of many a dancer.

The final dance, "To Be Sure of You," was too much like a contact improv exercise placed on stage. What the dancers are doing is interesting and I could be engaged in the obvious challenge of some of the sequences, but the pacing is off and the compositional structure is weak. The sextet could have been an exquisite duet or an exciting examination of real risk-taking and mistake-making. But as it stands (jumps and spins) the dancers get in each other's way and the unison is off. Ravel's "Bolero‰" only heightens the sense that the dancers are marking time as they pause between each partnered moment. With a little more risk, I'd be stumbling over myself in praise. It's so close you can taste it. All this dance needs is some serious commitment.

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