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Review 2, 10-31: Experimagiment
Holmes and Keithley, Together Again for the First Time
By Chris Dohse
Copyright 2002 Chris Dohse
NEW YORK -- A shared
program at Joyce Soho this past weekend, "Dance Party-or-Something
Like," showcased the dissimilar yet equally articulate performance
styles of creator/dancers K.J. Holmes and Karinne Keithley. Their
two solos and shared improvisation are visually and aurally compelling,
lit with saturated color by Tom Ontiveros, and danced with a kind
of authenticity rarely witnessed. Both Holmes and Keithley are skilled
improvisers, equally adept at creating movement based on physical
experimentation and at generating ideas.
The first solo, "Birdcage,"
is created and performed by veteran improviser Holmes. With her
pert blonde chignon and sleeveless, hot-pink cocktail dress, Holmes
suggests a cross between Malibu Barbie and a 1950s bored Florida
housewife on Valentine's Day. This bird is displeased with incarceration.
She rattles the blinds that define her space. She tosses red rose
petals on the floor like discarded birdseed. Are these wilted romantic
symbols evidence of a love affair? Is she imprisoned by her own
longing? Caged within her own heart? When she attempts freedom,
Holmes stumbles around the circumference of a circle backward in
The stage-right window
blind, behind which Jude Webre bows his contrabass, becomes Holmes's
temporary partner, her lover, her captor. Surprising characters
emerge as she dances in various areas of the space. Occasionally
she vocalizes like Yma Sumac in a mental ward.
The form of "At an Automat,
Macchu Picchu," choreographed and performed by Keithley, appears
less malleable than its predecessor, less ragged. Keithley is immediately
captivating, in a pastel lavender dress with big skirt. She looks
like somebody's niece or a silent-screen "It" girl. With an untroubled
countenance, she repeats increasingly complicated positions to Sara
Smith's great collage of various nostalgic musics. Without ever
looking maudlin, precise without being dainty, her gesture-driven
vocabulary is animated by wide-eyed ingenuity.
After a piano interlude,
composed and performed by Peter Jones, Jones accompanies Holmes
and Keithley as they improvise "Thrice." Like Kurt Schwitters, this
kind of improv domesticates found objects dragged in by the cat
-- in this case, fragments of movement, sound and light -- and allows
the viewer to create value. On opening night, the beginning of the
piece was crisp and has clear spatial design. The two women are
delightfully simpatico, like a famous comedy team nobody's ever
heard of. Within simple, playful situations, they proceed to experiment
and imagine (experimagiment?).
Dohse is senior critic for The Dance Insider, and has also contributed
to the Village Voice, New York Times, and Dance Magazine.
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