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 3, 6-8: Pulverized by Pulvermacher
Meaty Work & Dancing from Neta Dance

By Peggy H. Cheng
Copyright 2001 Peggy H. Cheng

An evening of Neta Pulvermacher's work, "6 Violins, 2 Cellos, 4 Stories" opened at The Kitchen Wednesday. 2 pieces, 1 intermission, and 2 pieces later, I was impressed by the vigorous dancing and classic lines of the untiring dancers of the Neta Dance Company, led by artistic director Pulvermacher.

The first half of the program kicks off with the New York premiere of "Vivaldiana," appropriately enough, set to Antonio Vivaldi's Concerto for two cellos in G minor. Danced beautifully by Tracy Dickson, Theresa Ling, Maile Okamura, Brittany Reese, Tami Stronach, and Nikki Zeichner, "Vivaldiana" was a romping dance for six women in colorful dresses. Flying between entire group unison dancing and fleeting trios, duets and solos, this piece appeared to be what it set out to be -- a pretty ballet danced with mastery by its six attractive dancers.

After the rush of the first piece, the evening took a slightly more serious turn into the premiere of "4 Stores," a piece that revealed the quirky interiors of the characters on stage. Interacting with each other, strictly through movement, the dancers played with and off of the music of Miri Ben Ari, who performed live on violin with her bandmates Hector Martinyon (keyboard), Bill Foster (bass), and Steve Hass (drums). The music segments, spanning sounds both sensual and bumpy, alternated with silences. In one songless duet, two men (Jeremy Laverdure and Jason Marchant) converse in a stop and go moving dialogue. One man pops in and out of a contorted push-up position, all the while looking towards the audience, while the other stands higher, also looking towards the audience. Seemingly ignoring each other, the two men still manage to make contact and touch. "4 Stories" took on a cinematic quality, moving and passing along pictures until stories emerged.

The third piece was the New York premiere of a 1988 solo choreographed and performed by Pulvermacher. "The Great Big Orange" did in fact have a big orange in it -- which sat on a chair for most of the time until briefly picked up and played with, then dropped reluctantly onto the floor. Also on stage were three wooden school chairs. As the lights came up, Pulvermacher was revealed, in a burgundy dunce cap, staring out into the audience and slowly tilting the chair up on to its front legs. Danced to R. Schumann's Kinderszennen, the movement suggested a small child, and the setting of three chairs placed in careful proximity to each other created a scene of a child playing about in a small room. Aside from a childlike exploration, sometimes of her own body as when her hands ran down her torso to rest between her legs for just a moment, I did not get a sense of where this story was going.

Last on the program was "Good Bye and Good Luck," a piece for six dancers with six violins. The violins became at time extensions of the dancers' limbs, at other times, when they were put down, the dancers exploded into an anarchy of free-for-all movement all about the stage. One recurring movement motif was of the dancers holding their violins and bows before them, their upper backs hunched over, as they stalked, stomped, or simply walked around the stage to the rhythm of the lively music by Anthony Coleman and the Self-Haters Orchestra. The dancers seemed like a troupe of nutty old hunchbacks, occasionally bowing away on their screechy instruments and producing sounds of woe and lament. One dancer, in a pause, recites to the audience "Wherever you go, whatever you do, remember that you are a Jew." The piece does end peacefully, after all the raucous movement, as one dancer, Maile Okamura, moves front and center, her violin sliding quietly and sensitively down the front of her body as the rest of the ensemble moves from behind her, slowly approaching the audience with their violins and bows in hand.

Throughout most of the program, Pulvermacher displayed a strong sense of humor through vigorous movement and smart choreography. At times, the humor may have been too subtle. But I did leave impressed, knowing that the company had performed with a great deal of energy, precision, and sensitivity.

Costumes were designed by company member Maile Okamura for all the pieces, except for "Good Bye and Good Luck" which had costumes by Luigi Roncalli. Lighting design was by Jonathan Belcher.

The Neta Dance Company continues at The Kitchen through Saturday. For more information, please call 212)255-5793.

Go back to Flash Reviews
Go Home