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Flash Review 1, 9-7: Spring to Fall
Dance Now Wows in Opening

By Maura Nguyen Donohue
Copyright 2001 Maura Nguyen Donohue

If it's autumn in New York then it must be Dance Now, the annual fall dance extravaganza, celebrating its 7th year. Though last night's opening event at Dance Now's base camp, Joyce SoHo, was so damned fresh I thought it was spring all over again. Once again, kudos to founding directors Tamara Greenfield and Robin Staff, now joined by Kara Tatelbaum, Netta Yerushalmy, Erin Reck and Romy Reading in keeping this ever growing celebration alive and kicking.

Lisa Gonzales and Paul Matteson's "Her Dream, His Waiting for Her to Arrive" begins in a whisper, immediately drawing us into a riveting and intimate moment before it bursts into a delightful series of playful near misses and word play. The ease between the two and their skillful partnering and soft landings are just like dessert. An apple pie at a picnic -- an absolutely delicious mix of sweet comfort and refreshing tang.

Zvi Gotheiner's excerpted "Interiors" is a different kind of co-ed duet, but equally as delightful. Ying-Ying Shiau and Todd Allen execute this complex dance chock-full of intricate partnering without an air of effort. Their execution of line and range of motion are lusciously enticing.

By the time Alexander Gish's "Pick Up," danced with Trebian Pollard, begins I realize I'm getting loads of what I'm always looking for at dance concerts: Fresh, fast and fearless partnering matched with engaging performers. Gish and Pollard don't skimp on either; in fact they draw audible gasps from the audience during a few seemingly impossible moments.

And while we're on engaging performers, Amber Sloan, in Sara Hook's richly evocative "Rue" is a compelling mess. Hook's penchant for awkward and vaguely discomforting heroines is well met by Sloan. She's a discarded rag doll in hot pink hair and silver lashes whose violent falls make me flinch while keeping me thoroughly enthralled.

Justin Jones and Christopher Yon are immediately defined the moment the lights rise as part of the cavalry of young artists Dance Now aids in a time of diminished opportunities. Yeah, "The Aorta Stomp" is basically just another quirky-white-boys-in-ties dance but it's still fun.

Johannes Wieland would seem a part of the cavalry as well. Or at least so would his dancers, all probably students at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where Wieland's a second-year MFA. The performers attacked his dance "Tomorrow" with true youthful abandon. Wieland's tomorrow could be a yesterday from a few thousand years ago, or perhaps an anticipated future. The dance begins with Neal Beasley, Sae La Chin and Amanda Wells partially submerged in three raised and illuminated fish tanks and leaves the stage and performers soaked. This 'Tomorrow' is a wet, dark and angry day.

Though PerksDanceMusicTheatre's "Fast Dance" was indeed quickly paced, it wasn't what I'd expect from the usually innovative choreogrpaher Rebecca Stenn. Stenn's solo moments in this duet with Michele de la Reza do reveal Stenn as a noticeably individualistic and enthralling dancer to watch. In fact both dancers' solo moments were most enjoyed because they broke off from the very linear, strangely old fashioned and overused movement phrase that makes up most of the dance. The music by Dave Eggar and Jay Weissman with Tom Papadatos bursts, rips and slides.

Laura Gates Carlson is a sincere and graceful dancer, but "Touch, Lips, Sing" is unfortunately reminiscent of too many satirical imitations of modern dance I've witnessed from family & friends over the years.

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