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Flash Review 2, 1-4:
Banging it up with Parker and Crew
By Maura Nguyen Donohue
Copyright 2001 Maura Nguyen Donohue
NEW YORK -- David Parker
and the Bang Group make funny work. And I consider that no small
feat in the realm of modern dance. Especially when clever wit is
equally met with studied, yet wholly original, craftsmanship. In
early December Parker brought his inventive brand of toe-shoe tap
to Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church. My only regret about this
concert is that it'll be long over by the time you read this Flash.
The Bang Group was founded
by Parker, Jeffrey Kazin and Kathryn Tufano to prove that serious
comic dance is not an oxymoron. The company has raised humor in
movement into the concert forum without losing any artistic value
or integrity. I don't feel like I have to dumb down in order to
enjoy some kind of physical ribaldry, nor am I cynically snickering
along to insider-oriented absurdity. Parker, Kazin and Tufano are
all righteous artists, fantastic dancers and endearing performers.
They bring moments of levity to the surface through skillful execution
of meticulously choreographed material. Parker brings his background
in tap to a new level of rhythm-study by smacking it right upside
the head with ballet and post-modern aesthetics. At the same time,
he manages to throw in enough equal opportunity gender-bending and
blatant sexual situations to make the seemingly light work truly
"On the Tip of My Tongue"
opens the program with the three performers lying on the floor in
shoulder stands with their legs in the air. We see pink tutus and
pointe shoes while enjoying the score of syncopated toe-shoe tapping
mingled with delightful bursts of harmonica. "Critical Mass" was
choreographed and originally performed by Sara Hook and Parker.
But to see Kazin in this work you'd think it was made for him. During
an all to brief solo outburst Kazin confirms what any Bang Group
newcomer would have begun suspecting: This dancer is a master of
his art. The ease that he shares with Parker's distinctive movement
vocabulary is testimony to his long history with the Bang Group.
Kazin has been banging around with Parker and Tufano for over ten
years. I am thankful for the chance to watch an obviously gifted
dancer reveal to an audience the depth of understanding and artistry
a long-term collaboration offers.
"Bound Edition" is a
costume-driven work created with designers Melanie Rozema and Jeroen
Teunissen. The striking Tufano rips and whips her way through a
fierce solo. She is a strong technician who carries the mantle of
fiery babe in this tightly knit trio of performers. Parker and Kazin
stick and rip their way through a duet in black Velcro suits. Vague
memories of frat house Velcro jumping dance through my subconscious
as I giggle to see Kazin literally stuck to Parker.
"Enough," to music by
Rachmaninoff, closes the program with a masterful meeting of the
classical and the comedic. Parker's forays into rhythm and pace
result in exquisite dancing and wickedly funny moments.
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