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Flash Review 1, 3-22: Light and Dark
At the Extremes with Donna Uchizono
By Darrah Carr
Copyright 2002 Darrah Carr
NEW YORK -- As a kickoff
to Dance Theater Workshop's Spring season last night at the Duke,
Donna Uchizono Company presented two starkly contrasting works.
Both were trios and both were created by the same choreographer,
but they were as different from each other as night and day.
The opening work of
DTW Around Town's Uchizono program, "State of Heads," startled with
a blast of blindingly bright light, bouncing off a completely white
marley, backdrop, and costumes. "Low," on the other hand, compelled
through intimate shadows and a faint, romantic glow on the skin
of the dancers. Uchizono's movement vocabulary was equally varied.
Aptly named, "State of Heads" developed from a slight bobbing of
the head, almost a nervous twitch, into more idiosyncratic arm and
hand gestures. Inspired by the Tango, "Low " focused on the interplay
of circling legs and swiveling pelvises Like a ball richocheting
around a racquetball court, "State of Heads" shifted quality abruptly
and unexpectedly, while "Low" built steadily on the predatory tension
of the tango. My reaction to the two works was as different as they
were from each other.
While Uchizono's stated
intention in "State of Heads" was to explore the feeling of waiting,
I found myself exploring the feeling of wanting -- wanting them
to stop waiting. When the dancers did move from gestural language
into phrase work, it occurred in fast, frenetic outbursts that were
marvelously engaging. These moments were brief, however, and bounced
away as suddenly as they appeared, leaving us to wonder about the
strange interior landscapes of the characters.
"Low," however, was
mesmerizing from start to finish. Again appropriately named, the
work opened with the dancers lying sideways on the floor. Carla
Rudiger propped her torso against Levi Gonzalez while Francisco
Rider Da Silva stood a bit apart from them. Feet flickered and legs
twisted, foreshadowing the tango inspired steps to follow. Gonzalez
inched forward and upward, propelling Rudiger to a standing position.
She was escorted off the stage, and returned later, flung around
Gonzalez's neck, strewing white, green, and black feathers over
the floor. Once she resumed dancing on her own two feet, Rudiger
moved lusciously, as if she was swimming through Guy Yarden's perfectly
matched score. Buoyed by the music, the choreography slipped easily
between a series of duets and short solos. While there was a fluid,
circular aspect to both the spatial patterning and the partnering,
there was also incredible precision regarding the placement of a
foot, the deliberate glance at the audience.
Other skillful contributors
to the evening were lighting designer Stan Pressner, composer James
Lo (for "State of Heads"), costume designer Wendy Winters, and dancer
Rebecca Serrell, who moved with clarity and verve throughout "State
Donna Uchizono Company
continues through Sunday at the Duke. For more information, please
visit the DTW web site.
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