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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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