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Flash Review 2, 7-16: Bludgeoned with Intimacy
Marcotty Mines Simplicity with Risky Tactics

By Chris Dohse
Copyright 2002 Chris Dohse

NEW YORK -- The structure of Fiona Marcotty's "You Were. We Are. I Was. I Was" program at Joyce Soho, seen Sunday night, reveals Marcotty as a choreographer willing to take risks, willing to struggle with ideas as well as movement invention, and willing to dig exhaustively within a simple form: six male/female duets.

Marcotty dances three of the duets. In the first two of these, she maintains a silent, melancholy presence, while her partner/collaborators, Rotem Tashach and Cyrus Khambatta, seem a bit unhinged. She dresses her men in black dresses to match her own so they read as extensions of her or empaths of the feminine rather than potential mates. She and Tashach, in "Avalanche," convulse in Victorian petticoats like two Catherines without a Heathcliff while strings saw Vivaldi catgut. When they eventually embrace, she carries him like a sleeping child. In "Creation Myth I," Khambatta dances a repetitive gestural solo in an upstage corner while Marcotty sits in a downcast heap downstage. Her brief contact with him seems to leave her spent, defeated, scooped out.

In "Triptych," three pairs of partners investigate variations of coupled relationship, beginning with a somewhat creepy solo. A harsh spotlight pins Carlo Rizzo in antiseptic elegance. He approaches us slowly and indirectly, ranting silently while strutting to a cocky disco beat. Taisha Paggett joins him; they proceed to sashay and flail, mouths always eerily working, to the deafening noise of essential disconnection. A natural comic, Luke Miller's oddball Astaire woos Ashley Smith's high-school-prom Charisse, their two solos rarely engaging each other. The lovely Isabel Gotzkowsky and Jon Zimmerman are the most connected pair of the evening, dancing more as a couple in real phrase material and an episode of contact-based roly-poly that almost suggests hope amid the human wreckage of the other dysfunctional interactions.

Marcotty has assembled a fine cast of real dancing people who slouch within eight-pointed ballet space to expose its artificial theatricality. Her movement is intimate and humane, motivated by feeling. She doesn't seem to prophecy much happiness to be found in pairbonding, but makes it seem an inevitable animal activity where distinctions between want, need, and love become fluid, free of gender-prescribed behavior, sometimes funny and subtle, and sometimes as awkward as a bludgeon.

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