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Review 2, 12-12: Twice as Nice
Barton & Breyer, 'Mais We'!
By Darrah Carr
Copyright 2002 Darrah Carr
NEW YORK -- In "Assorted
Goods," which opened last night at Williamsburg Art neXus, the talented
duo of Aszure Barton and Nell Breyer combine their choreographic
chops with video and film, and add a work for two by guest choreographer
Robert Battle for a substantial evening of dance.
Barton's "Mais We, in
20 Soles" commands the evening, given its considerable length and
wide range of costume and music choices. A keen sense of musicality
is evident throughout the work, whether Barton uses a Hungarian
poem, Japanese Kodo drumming, or the music of Paul Simon. A lighthearted
solo for Kanji Segawa opens the dance. Segawa's gestures embody
the sound score perfectly -- it's like dancing onomatopoeia. Slowly,
nine others slip onto the stage, stepping in place, their hands
shoved in their pockets and their backs to the audience. From the
basic step, a pulsating rhythm grows, as groups of dancers make
subtle gestural changes. Some inch forward, others move back, and
still others freeze for moments at a time. The effect is mesmerizing
and reminiscent of the subtle accumulations of Brazil's Grupo
The work accelerates
as six women move with quirky, individual sequences. Each has a
sense of total abandon, the kind of uninhibited, unique steps usually
dreamed up when dancing alone in one's house. It is charming, intimate,
and very real. Following this playful romp, Yannick Matthon delivers
an unforgettable solo. His legs are rooted to the floor, while his
arms and torso reach, curl, and carve through the space around him.
He seems to be channeling energy, absorbing impulses, and grounding
them. Matthon could simply be a hard act to follow, but the longer
the piece gets, the more editing it needs. The sections become more
disparate and we pass through several false endings.
In "Hand for Hand,"
Breyer demonstrates her extreme versatility, being solely responsible
for the choreography, video and light design (she also dances beautifully
in two of the evening's works). Jason Dietz Marchant and Dixon Mena
move deftly around each other with the grace and strength that are
found in equal parts in capoeira. A video montage is projected on
panels in front, behind, and to the sides of them, so the dancers
are encased in their own images, as well as against footage of fencing
and racquetball. The layering is not only visually stunning, but
it also highlights capoeira's dual nature of fight and play, art
Barton and Breyer's
collaborative choreography, as seen in "X," was less compelling
than their individual works. The dancers seemed overshadowed by
Price's film projections and the interesting visual effects he created.
The final section, to Johnny Cash, is extremely well crafted, however,
with tight cannons and a wonderful, linear use of the space.
The program is well
complemented by Robert Battle's "Strange Humors," expertly performed
by Barton and Matthon. A palpable sexual tension courses through
the piece. Animalistic gestures are interestingly juxtaposed with
jazzy layouts and high extensions.
"Assorted Goods" runs
through Saturday, with showtimes at 8 p.m., at the Williamsburg
Art neXus. There's an additional matinee performance Saturday at
2 p.m. For more information, please call 718-599-7997.
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