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Flash Review 3, 2-19: (Too) Loud and Clear, Over and Over and Over Again
Beller's Strong Rep Undercut by a Program in Need of an...Editor

By Nicole Pope
Copyright 2002 Nicole Pope

NEW YORK -- "It's Not You, It's Me," an evening of dances by Alexandra Beller seen February 8 at the Joyce SoHo, was a little over two-and-a-half hours of what I'm sure others besides myself would describe as hard-core feminism. If it was only shorter, the performance could have been so much more. I say this because when you are watching close to three hours of work that runs along the same topic, before long the distinctions of each piece begin to blur into on overwhelmingly loud statement that frankly left me exhausted by 10:45pm.

I hate to say such things about Beller's work because she really is a master of dialogue and moments that are at once humorous, insightful, humble and blunt. The evening consisted of five pieces that addressed "the history of written and unwritten rules of romantic and sexual behavior," the natural and "unnatural" origins of lust and desire, and the oddities that can be found within mating habits.

When Beller, dressed in white fluff and a pink-bowed wig, reads excerpts of articles on the responsibilities of a lady to her man from Good Housekeeping, "The Rules," and "How to Make Love" in outrageous accents as two couples, a man wearing a dress inserted where there "should" be a woman and vice versa in "Dangling Fruits of Joy or How to Make Love," she very successfully reaches a point in the piece where to my surprise, the gender of each performer really didn't matter to me.

Beller's ability to string real moments of interaction together in her choreography carried out her intentions clearly and believably, though it presented to a world in which her desires are currently unreal. The rest of the evening consisted of a brief romance between the two Masha characters from Chekhov's "The Three Sisters" and "The Seagull," part of which is danced like an MTV music video/ slumber party extravaganza to an '80s love song. There was also boob grabbing, "Would you love me if I was thinner," men vs. women yoga drills (drill sergeants and all), self-proclaimed dating services gone amok, and a solo by Beller to Dvorak danced with the empty space of a lover. "Would you put your . . . Do you have a minute to talk?"

I admire Beller's courage to put stuff out there when the opportunity arises and the fact that she has such a strong repertoire, but I feel that in the end, as a program it backfired on her intents and muffled out a lot of the really interesting things she has to say. By intermission, I thought, "You've said it, girl, loud and clear."

 

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