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Flash Review 3, 10-1: Marshall Goes Public in NYC
Apple Doesn't Fall Far from the (Taylor/Parsons) Tree

By Darrah Carr
Copyright 2002 Darrah Carr

NEW YORK -- Amy Marshall is a consummate professional. The Amy Marshall Dance Company's first New York season, which ran at Joyce SoHo last weekend, was an impressive package, complete with highly technical dancers, rich costumes, and a substantial repertory -- enough to warrant two programs. Marshall's aesthetic, however, seems strongly influenced by her life as a professional dancer, with Taylor 2 and Parsons Dance Company, among others. While those are wonderful companies to emulate, they are also hard acts to follow. Marshall's style feels vaguely familiar and not as fresh as one might hope for from a young choreographer.

Of the pieces in Program B, the evening I caught, "Gustav's Wedding" was the most compelling. A nice blend of narrative and pure dance, the work offers snapshots of the entire wedding experience -- from the groom and bride's contemplative solos at the start to the frenzied party later. Michael Kerns gave a charming performance as the slightly inebriated uncle, while Amanda Schiller made for a delightful, fleet-footed Groom's sister. The dance grew in energy and complexity of spatial design to a rousing finish.

"Gustav's Wedding" was exciting because of its changing dynamic, something the evening's opening work, "Solstice," lacked. The dancers skimmed demurely across the surface with simple, elegant lines, open torsos, and low arabesques. The structure was clean and tight, with patterns fitting together like puzzle pieces. Nevertheless, after a while, the cannons became predictable and the serene quality grew a bit numbing.

"Aria," the solo, which followed, was the antidote to serenity. Angela Fleddermann gave a strong, albeit angst-ridden, performance. A classic modern dance hinge made a stark opening image. Even more interesting, however, was Marshall's choice to have the dancer crawl away at the end, as if she'd been battling her inner animalistic nature, and eventually surrendered to it.

In her program notes, Marshall cites a desire to further public interest in and understanding of the performing arts. This is a goal at which her young company may well succeed. Overall, the work is polished, well rehearsed, and highly accessible.


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