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Flash Review 1, 3-12: Of the Telling
and the 'Untold'
Strong Movement Squares off with Effects in Gonzalez-Ott Debut
By Chris Dohse
Copyright 2002 Chris Dohse
NEW YORK -- Eun Jung Gonzalez and
Catey Ott have danced for just about everybody since they came to New York (Allyson
Green, Sean Curran, Risa Jaroslow, Eun Me Ahn, Bill Young, Heidi Latsky, and Mark
Dendy, to drop a few names). The four short dances on their shared DraftWork program
at Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church Saturday showcased the similarly fluid,
theatrical performance styles that have captivated those artists -- and numerous
audiences -- in emotionally based, intimate dancing. All four dances shared a
humble, straightforward quality, working on a small scale to investigate questions
of relationship, and balanced fertile movement vocabularies with narrative themes
to various levels of success. The strength of these works is their talented casts;
their weakness is a propensity to the literal. Each dance seen on its own might
seem unfinished; together they make a promising choreographic debut.
A collaboration, "Our World," opened
the program. As a computerized voice read a fragment of text from the diary of
a person with autism, Gonzalez and Ott, encased in plastic bubble wrap, executed
variations of a space-eating movement phrase, bounced off each other, and played
with a large rubber ball. The danger their costumes seemed to imply hovered in
the eerily monotonous words, "Smell and sound and touch." Schumann and Schubert
provided an incongruous sweetness to the alternately playful and caretaking partnering.
Gonzalez's "Watercolor Sketch," danced
by Gonzalez and Carolyn Hall to a score by John Cage, traveled further into a
psychodramatic landscape and ended with a successfully surreal image. After dancing
together for some time, the two performers had split. Gonzalez, piercing the air
with her prancing feet inside a backlit fabric sculpture, might have been hammering
the keys of Cage's piano. Hall, meanwhile, performed an increasingly troubled
solo that summarized a sense of angst.
Another duet followed, Ott's "Frame
of Mind." Ott and Carrie Ahearn, dressed as bridesmaids or goddesses, yearned
and moped amid a floor littered with old snapshots. A florid emotive quality,
reinforced by a cinematic soundscore, overwhelmed the lyrical and sinuous gestures
featured in the choreography.
"Untold," another collaboration,
featured all four dancers in the most fully realized choreography of the program.
Dancers rotated through stations during the piece, taking turns fulfilling a crouching
duet that unfolded across the front of the space while two others filled the floor
behind. A recorded text that sounded like another diary entry, some psychobabble
of want and need, somewhat spoiled the struggle within the various partnerings,
however. The movement itself contained all the complexity of emotion outlined
by the speaker and would have been more powerful if left undefined.
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