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.
back to Flash Reviews
Flash Fringe Journal 3, 8-21: Falling
Freefall Falls Flat
By Colleen Teresa Bartley
Copyright 2001 Colleen Teresa Bartley
EDINBURGH, Scotland -- The Moving
Company's Performance of Freefall at the Garage Chapeau Prince Garden West fell
flat at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this past rainy Saturday.
Directed and choreographed by Janet
Taisey Craft, the performance consisted of four pieces of aerial dance theatre:
"Marking the Absolute," "A Clean Water Act," I Am Already Who I Am" and "Attic
Instead of the traditional trapeze
and cord de lisse I expected to find, there were a number of looped rope contraptions
rigged above the stage in the mini big-top tent. And instead of having a French
or European origin, the troupe is from Boston, and is supported by Emerson College.
The first piece, Marking the Absolute,
featured two females dressed in sky blue shiny unitards suspended from the ropes.
They changed from outstretched position to position while two other women writhed
and rolled on the floor below, giving the women on the ropes a push every once
in a while, allowing them to rotate their poses. While some of the positions were
beautiful, the piece was painfully slow and never developed past the pretty poses.
The second work, the male-female
duet "A Clean Water Act," attempted to be poetic and poignant but turned into
a lecture about the dangers of pollution. After spinning together on a set of
ropes, the performers alternated shouting facts about pollution and the history
of the Clean Water Act in the U.S.
The most beautiful image of the entire
show, however, surfaced during this piece. A woman held herself suspended sideways
while swinging in a circle in a pool of blue light about a foot off the ground,
the way a fortune telling pendulum circles above the palm. It was mesmerizing
to watch her trace full-body circles in the air.
A moment of innovation and interest
appeared after a spoken section about mutation. Having each changed into a suit,
(the man into a business suit and the woman into a wet suit), the performers crawled
around on the ground like amphibians and rearranged themselves to appear like
a two-headed, four-armed mutant.
"I Already Am Who I Am" saw three
women in black leather biker jackets disrobe an 'ordinary' woman in a frumpy denim
house dress and dress her in a similar jacket, thus transforming her into one
of them, a rebel woman.
The movement was a mixture of mime,
tough girl, hands-on-hips stances, butch poses and leaping rolling dance steps
to a soundtrack of a recorded monologue about the suburbs, social norms, and the
The climax of this piece had all
four women entwined on a rope contraption center stage. It looked uncomfortable
and difficult, like a bunch of tangled limbs rather than a smooth and impressive
balanced unit. Two of the women made their way to the floor in the style of a
magician's assistant, who fusses with props with exaggerated preparatory gestures,
as they connected more ropes to the middle set. They then climbed up to stretch
out on the extensions, attempting to produce a "ta-da" effect. But the moment
failed to impress and seemed to have nothing to do with the text or the other
The big finale, "Attic Fugue," featured
all the performers except one, three rope contraptions, a flowered scarf, a red
velvet covered love-seat and arm chair on wheels, with lots of running about onstage
in all different directions. It was set to a score of music which included a mix
of David Bowie/Eno, Jimi Hendrix, The Gypsy Kings, Bellini and text by Oscar Wilde.
Need I say more?
This piece, like the entire show,
was confused. The sections of "Attic Fugue" had nothing to do with each other.
It began with a rope tableau: female soloist high on one set, a male soloist on
another, and a male/female on yet another set. At one point two dancers waltzed
across the stage, moving the piece on to the next section. This ballroom dance
theme repeated intermittently with wild couch pushing and pulling and chaotic
running about the stage.
The highlight was the male performer
dressed in white who delivered the Wilde text, about beauty. He dexterously swung
from the ropes with ease and freedom that offered a glimpse of what is possible
with the ropes. Unfortunately he was featured a small amount and only provided
a taste of the potential of the use of ropes.
The rhythm and pace of the evening's
work revolved around the performers preparing for poses and tableaus, like the
four women hand on hips or the two dancers leaning sideways on the couch using
each other as a pillow, or many of the slow split extensions on the ropes. There
were a few moments that suspended the belief of the audience and broke from the
pattern, giving the impression that the performers were flying. And there were
a few poses which allowed the body to hover, hang and be suspended. In one particular
tucked position, performers could spin quickly. This changed the energy and did
provide the illusion of flying, but in general, we were waiting for the free falling,
the flying, and the aerial dancing. Even the curtain call had the whole cast perched
on the loveseat the way people do when posing for a family portrait.
As a whole, the work of the Moving
Company failed to integrate the dance steps (and they were steps), the aerial
work and the text. Each individual element of performance was disjointed and underdeveloped.
The performers were strong but the piece didn't highlight their abilities and
talents. The ideas behind each piece read as naive and in-your-face instead of
serious and respectful.
Freefall promised to be dynamically
moving. The program states that the choreographer was inspired by a 'dream about
flying,' but the performance was static, contrived and drawn out.
back to Flash Reviews