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Flash Review 1, 4-16: Forward!
Stepping into the Pod with Daggers and Dunlap

By Tom Patrick
Copyright 2002 Tom Patrick

NEW YORK -- I can remember marveling at the handheld communicators of Star Trek, wondering if such a thing would arrive in my lifetime. Such is the value of the so-called science fiction (or futurist) genre: a curiosity-driven reach into the future, where in imagining we may latch onto a new world. In "POD -- Polymorphic Ovulation Device," presented this past weekend at Sal Anthony's Movement Salon, Forward Motion Theater creates a rich environment, presenting us with a possible future.

The POD is conceived as a complex system of incubation, transference, and transportation for human genetic material once we've been squeezed off this shrinking planet. Collaborators Eric Dunlap and Holly Daggers drenched the studio in color, sound and movement, condensing the concept of the POD into an evolutionary fast-forward. Media artist Daggers has produced here some amazing films backed up by a great score, and choreographer Dunlap performs with his trademark fluency. He looks a little like a tall Danish prince (though he's no Hamlet), and his dancing is focused and tied into the changing worldscape. Though the performing space is not large, Dunlap's dance interludes capitalized on the closeness with a deep concentration and gradual expansion -- a gestation. From the first crude format of a clone, and with a progressive accumulation of armor, POD makes him, POD teaches him, and POD expels him, to find his own way on some [potentially] hostile new world. Science fiction that might also double as a metaphor on our own world's raising of our children?

I found the event to be very thought-provoking, yet more so in retrospect, as I was captivated in the moment by the rich aural and visual elements -- in my humble opinion a pretty great outcome in a performance. Really, Forward Motion Theater is reaching for the future, and I appreciate Daggers and Dunlap's curiosity for grafting/juxtaposing the human and the technological tomorrow. There is a kinship here to Alwin Nikolais (for whose company Dunlap danced) and those fantastic integrations of body and light and sound to discover new forms of three-dimensional moving art. And not just pretty stuff propped up by Valentine card sentiments, but concepts and questions -- bathed in wondrous colors and textures and sounds.

I applaud Forward Motion Theater for this, and hope you will too. If you missed "POD -- Polymorphic Ovulation Device" here, you may have to go overseas to see it. Take your eyes, ears, and mind out for a fast test-ride on POD. For more information, check out the company's web site.

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