New York manufacturer of fine dance apparel for women and girls. Click here to see a sample of our products and a
list of web sites for purchasing.
With Body Wrappers it's always performance at its best.
Go back to Flash Reviews
1, 6-12: All the Sad Young Choreographers
Food for Thought: Posing Pain, Transcending Loss
By Chris Dohse
Copyright 2002 Chris Dohse
NEW YORK -- Last weekend, the Food
for Thought programs at Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church, benefitting local
food programs, passed a dance torch. From veterans like Homer Avila, Art Bridgman
and Myrna Packer and Marta Renzi through a sampling of iconoclastic, emerging
voices to seven-year-old Maia Sage Ermansons, whose enchanting "The Leaf" was
on Sunday's program of solos, three curators presented a rich, inclusive miscellany.
Friday night, curated by Cathy Zimmerman
The title of this program, "An Evening
of Dances by Young Adults," is somewhat misleading. Teenagers from Rockland County's
Coupe Theatre Studio are featured as performers, but most of the choreographers
hold college degrees. Some are mature, prominent professionals. Works by parent
choreographers Bridgman/Packer, Renzi and Deborah Tacon are placed alongside works
from Sara Rudner's composition class at Sarah Lawrence. The result is a refreshing
and surprising evening -- inventive, theatrical and deeply felt. My favorites
are the droll and leggy "From Hour to Hour," choreographed by Abby Block and Aaron
Mattocks, and Sara Smith's "Always Never Except After," but Renzi's "A Hug for
Two Tomorrows," danced by Jennifer Tortorello, shows that Renzi hasn't lost her
ability to capture the feeling of a lump in the throat while laughing.
Saturday night, curated by Amanda
Miguel Gutierrez directs the Powerful
People in the improvisational "I want to understand (what is happening to me)!"
Wearing1980s bridesmaids' or prom dresses, the five dancers form a soccer scrum
while Jaime Fennelly composes a painful, computer-generated throb. Then they proceed
to thrash in a scooting, polymorphous, heaped clusterfuck, humping each other's
available surfaces until their gowns are shredded. Obscene, uncomfortable and
violent, this throwaway Fluxus is a kind of "Meat Joy" for a new generation of
post-Vandekeybus, button-pushing, adrenaline-fueled corporeality.
I wonder several things while watching,
the same things I wondered while watching the similarly violent "Hit," choreographed
and performed by Luciana Achugar and Levi Gonzalez last week at the Kitchen. Is
this flagrant fetishization/glamorization of violence irresponsible? Is catharsis
its goal? If so, for the doer or for the watcher? Or is it Brechtian? Is it influenced
by, and the next permutation of, reality television/extreme sports?
These dances make me see myself
as a middle-aged fuddy-duddy. I can't relate to the new generational malaise I
see reflected in this severely limited, deliberately uglified, awkward downtown
trend. I see despair in these vocabularies and I don't understand what could make
these beautiful, healthy young people feel so hopeless. Of course September 11
made us all realize our mortality in an ugly new way, but this movement was popular
before then. Now it's just more violent, reflecting accurately a world where well-being
has become disposable. I find myself alienated, not moved, not amused, and not
particularly interested. But it certainly gets a rise out of me, and I guess that's
the point. Both works are at least ingeniously crafted.
Jennifer Nugent is a bold, bald
androgyne in "speakease." With a Three Stooges sense of rollicking, slapstick
physicality or WWF bravado, she gobbles space, falling repeatedly to try cramming
her foot into her mouth. Then she beams a surprisingly girlish, shy smile as she
bows, before skipping off to the dressing room.
"Without" looks somewhat traditional
compared with the loose, unorthodox body images of the previous dances. Perhaps
unraveling a scene of domestic abuse, the strongest moments are after the choreographer/performers
(Mark DeChiazza and Kristen Hollinsworth) reach resolution, urgency abated in
a tender, seated duet.
Maria Hassabi becomes a broken-necked
ragdoll or spastic uber-marionette who will need a chiropractor when she's my
age in her "late night future."
In "Sung," Osmany Tellez and Astrud
Angarita embody a simian, fidgeting agility. It's somewhat canoodly, but with
a sense of design and intellect that keeps the improvisational vocabulary from
collapsing into narcissism. Angarita's costumes are sly and fabulous. I hereby
commission her to make a pair of pants for me any time. Ah, then some recognizable
phrase material plays with the presentational confines of proscenium-ideated space
(they dance at the edges of the floor). But too long alas, it kind of craps out
at the end.
Sunday night, curated by Anna Glass
Selected highlights only: Rachel
Shao-Lan Blum, in her "Winter in New York, 2002," dances with a tai chi-attentive
energy to David Darling's elegiac score. Her sensitivity to phrasing and translucent
costume create an image of raw emotion, with contortion and line functioning as
Agonizing yet empowering to watch,
Homer Avila's "Not/Without Words" (his first solo since having a leg and hip amputated)
is both a manifestation of will power and the product of a fierce choreographic
mind. When Avila lists all the things he's lost, ending in "I lost my fear" while
standing tall and proud, he's simply beautiful; nothing less than stunning, eloquent
Go back to Flash Reviews