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Flash Review 3, 7-24: Limited Limbs
"What Limbs May Come" Limited to Circus

By Susan Yung
Copyright 2001 Susan Yung

The Notario Dance Company, directed and choreographed by Brook Notary, presented "What Limbs May Come," a self-produced program of nine short works seen earlier this month at The Kitchen. The choreography wavered between circus-influenced theater and modern dance, often performed to live music. The evening's best pieces were those employing extremely clever props and more acrobatic movement, overshadowing the more strictly dance pieces.

Notable were "Plucked," featuring a trio (Daniella Cavaleri, Notary, and Laura Schurich) moving about on altered crutches in addition to their feet, and wearing three-sided masks which showed a face to the audience no matter how their heads were turned. The dancers moved with absolute confidence on their crutches, cleanly and swiftly, and created new organic shapes by docking their feet on another's haunches at times.

"Manta Ray," while overly lengthy, included wing-span-width flexible disks of stretchy fabric. The disks could be folded like Mobius strips or drawn about the head to create a bell-shaped tail. It began to resemble a rhythmic gymnastics display when a duo, Sae La Chin and Yula Chin, joined Notary and began to spin the props around their heads. Another highlight was "3 of 51," (Notary, Caroline Lewis, and Schurich) which had the dancers grounding suspended mesh tubes, which were used as expressionistic relief canvasses for their screaming faces, swings, and womb-like caves. Terry and Judy Notary constructed the props.

Less successful were the works which focused more on dance rather than the theatrical. Cavaleri danced "Natira" on pointe, which only served to demonstrate poor technique and a limited vocabulary. "In Passing" featured five dancers in gem-colored outfits to a commissioned score by James Vesce. Unfortunately, if felt more like a piece seen in the context of a university than a professional dance venue. In this work, and nearly all others, the dancers wore an overly serious expression of intent, as if competing in a sporting event. "Taurus" (Cavaleri and Lewis) was an exception -- the pair was clearly competing on many levels in this muscular dance, making such an expression apt. Lewis stood out with a fierce, explosive energy. In fact, the absence of humor was prevalent throughout, even in "Twisted," in which the dancers wore Devo-like Tyvek coveralls and wraparound shades. They carried long foam tubes which were manipulated in all kinds of ways. The tone should have been funny instead of brittle. And "How Did It Go?", based on poems by Shel Silverstein, may be appropriate for an audience of youngsters, but its literal, forced juvenile tone was merely embarassing.

Notary's experience in circus performance has certainly served her to create some interesting theatrical works. The company's youthful enthusiasm and admirable production values may carry its performances, but the weak dance choreography may let it go only so far. Other performers were Lee Garr, Darren Lacey, and Beth Renee; musicians were Marisha Brown (vocals), Luke Notary (tabla), and Chris Peck (bass).

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