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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
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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