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 Review, 2-9: Masters
Eiko & Koma Meet Halprin, Soundtrack by Jeanrenaud
By Peggy H. Cheng
Copyright 2002 Peggy Cheng
NEW YORK -- Like photographic prints
cooking in the developing juices, images slowly seep into being before our eyes.
This is the experience of watching "Be With," the title piece of an evening running
earlier this month at the Joyce with Eiko & Koma, Anna Halprin, and composer/cellist
Joan Jeanrenaud (formerly with the Kronos Quartet). The evening, it turns out,
is the first time that either the husband-wife team of Eiko and Koma or Anna Halprin
have ever collaborated with outside dance artists. Jeanrenaud, offering her own
cello compositions and live playing, laid down a musical foundation upon which
the performers lightly tread.
Eiko and Koma's style of movement,
driven by constantly evolving images in a butoh-esque manner, is the thread which
"Be With" follows. Anna Halprin's presence (at 81 years of full-blown living,
a presence not often experienced on the dance stage) is akin to some huge force
of Mother Nature; the word "sorceress" comes to mind. As she, like Eiko and Koma,
moves slowly across the stage before a wall of deep red rock, then serene blue
paper-like surface, Halprin, at turns, blows the others about the stage like strong
windy current, or gently caress them to the ground. When contact is made between
Halprin and Eiko or Koma, it is huge, maybe a ritual. But as the thread continues,
scenes evolve into intimate moments: Halprin slides down the wall to a squat,
leans her elbows on her knees, and it could be a sunny afternoon in a parking
lot where one woman finds a a moment to rest. Jeanrenaud's cello perfectly parallels
the thread of the piece, the flow of the hills and valleys of images: sometimes
gentle, nurturing scenes (Halprin as nurturing mother; once, like a mother bird,
opening her mouth and dropping food to baby bird Eiko), other times violent, sexual,
and always somehow urgent. The magical backdrop and gauze-like fiery costumes
were by Eiko & Koma, and the lighting designed by Patty-Ann Farrell.
The second half of the program is
ushered in by Halprin's autobiographical solo, "5-110." Chronicling the past and
future of her dance career from age 5 to 110, Halprin (who has apparently not
been seen on a NYC stage since 1968, when a controversial work at the then Hunter
Playhouse brought the cops) lists to us the various phases she has travelled through,
including her dance for self-healing as she faced illness at the half-century
mark. At present, she has begun to understand Mother Nature. Looking into the
future, she sees more healing, and, the "essence of things." Hand on the heart,
hand to the ground, Halprin shows us how it's all connected.
Eiko & Koma's 1999 "Snow" completes
the program. Snow did, indeed, fall upon the mostly dark stage, creating an outdoor
nighttime scene, light pouring in from one side of the stage resembling some nearby
streetlight. (Original lighting design was by Eiko & Koma and Jeff Fontaine.)
While Eiko floated in the light in a light white robe, Koma was often behind,
all in black, a puppeteer who manipulated Eiko's arms. He was the darkness, she
the snowflake. At times they became less abstracted, more like a human couple,
and he becomes her escort, then a vampire to her snow-white neck. As in the other
work, there is an immediacy in the movement, Eiko and Koma infant-like in their
sensitivity and sensing of each new moment. As in the first piece, images intensify
and then dissolve before intensifying into another image.
back to Flash Reviews