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3, 6-20: Out of Space
She Saw it All on Mulberry Street
By Vanessa Paige Swanson
Copyright 2002 Vanessa Paige Swanson
NEW YORK -- Danspace Project's Out
of Space @ Mulberry Street Theater, curated by Gina Gibney, brought us choreographers
from inside and outside New York last night, proving that there is more dance
in Cleveland than what we see on Drew Carey, as two works on the program were
created through the Food for Thought/Cleveland Project.
"Swan's Song,"created and performed
by Chris DiCello, consists of a series of brief "chapters," taking us from our
heroine's birth through her battle with cancer, through her eventual death. Simultaneously
hilarious and poignant (the piece includes the best modern dance joke I've ever
heard), DiCello's intricate choreography, comic timing and engaging stage presence
make this work truly "food for thought." The piece is honest and straightforward,
as befits the subject matter; DiCello resists the contemporary influence to cloak
everything in mystery.
Carey Kelly and Lynn Deering's "By
a Thread" is free of coyness and artifice. The two women are a study in contrasts.
Kelly is long-limbed and statuesque, while Deering is petite and compact. Both
are beautiful performers whose committment to the material rings throughout the
piece. the dance explores the shifting dynamics of a relationship -- conflict,
support, alienation, control and surrender -- to a magnificent, moody score by
Somei Satoh. Spare and elegant without being minimal, the choreography features
clean lines and gorgeous, often blind, lifts. Multiple turns and other technical
movements are smoothly blended with gestural work, successfully externalizing
the deeply internal.
"Saty (Dress)," choreographed and
performed by Anka Sedlackova and Marta Miller, was another thoughtful duet. Against
a backdrop of hanging dresses of various styles, the performers comfort and challenge
one another, exploring the parameters of identity and physicality as they don
and remove clothing. Rhythm is used beautifully here, the patterns skillful and
surprising. As a whole, the choreography is ruthlessly edited; we can really see
each movement, and each one fits the structure gracefully, though the interludes
of childlike mirroring undercut the overall sophistication of the piece. A brief,
sparkling moment of humor, folded into the middle of the piece, makes the darker
questions resonate all the more.
I will admit up front: I am already
a fan of Kara Tatelbaum. In fact, her "Erasing the Thin Blue Line" was one of
the most memorable dances I saw last year. Still, even I was impressed with "After
the Math," Tatelbaum's entry in this program. Wonderfully realized by Ashley Gilbert
and Kristina Kirkenaer, this duet showcases Tatelbaum's signature movement vocabulary,
a unique conbination of strength and delicacy that comes from the gut with exquisite
detail. The piece takes chances, both emotional and physical. The joy is, we don't
realize how risky it is until its over.
Netta Yerushalmy created the enigmatic
"Afarsek" for four outstanding performers: Jane Gotch, Andrea Johnston, Sinead
Sant and Molly Wilson. This quartet slips unexpectedly in and out of intricate
unison patterns, leading to a compelling feeling of timeless cycles of birth and
death. Yerushalmy combines her high level of choreographic craft with an unerring
trust of her own instinct; some of the more overtly emotional gestures work beautifully,
without seeming overdone. This dance deserves to be longer, or to have a stronger
"A Hand for a Hand," created by
Nell Breyer, opened to program with an interesting video and movement exploration.
Adeptly danced by Joseph Poulson and Luka Kito, the piece juxtaposed video footage
of various sports with capoiera-inspired movement. Though limited in vocabulary,
the work was an intriguing study in competition. Its striking simplicity of structure
never lost its playful quality, and was studded with unexpected moments.
In closing, I must mention that
the lighting design by Owen Hughes was outstanding; the lighting was truly another
welcome performer in each piece. I also commend Gina Gibney for bringing these
artists together, in an effort to expand everyone's boundaries.
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