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Flash Review 2, 1-21: Cornered
Green & Wright Meet in the 'Interim'

By Chris Dohse
Copyright 2003 Chris Dohse

NEW YORK -- Allyson Green and Ben Wright's collaborative duet "Interim," seen Thursday at Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church, begins with chiaroscuro and stillness. Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" tinkles in a gradually brightening dusk. Green and Wright sit inert in chairs at opposite corners of the dancing area, facing each other. The sound and casual physicality are as familiar and as comfortable as old shoes while Green slowly, slowly surveys the space between the two bodies. Her inexorable pace establishes the scale and shape in which the piece will occur -- the scale and shape of need.

These dancers are authentic people. They dance a troubled emotional partnership based on fluid counterbalances and weight exchanges with humility, allowing the movement to take as long as it needs. The crickets in Alan Stones's sound design suggest summer and fertility as Green and Wright nudge each other from paused sculptural tableaux. Perhaps this movement has evolved from improvisation, but it now fills its contours with sensitivity, domestic intimacy and complementary timing.

As the characters' connection deepens, their agitation grows into an organic and essential human relational truth. Sarah Gilmartin lights the space beautifully, the edges of her green square enhancing the color of Wright's shirt. There's something heartbreaking about the piece's simplicity, something sepia-toned that captures inconstancy. Suddenly the sound of waves crashing on a shore is nearly unbearable.

Wright dances while Green looks on, impassive, aloof or numbed. He seems to need to communicate something to her. Maybe he's struggling to remember something or he's atoning for wrongdoing. Without overt connotation or literal interpretation, his gestures carry specificity and meaning. Time passes, marked by the sound of rain falling. She gets a chance to rebut him in an ensuing solo. She's no longer aloof, but present. Her body falls open as she shakes off her pallor.

A sort of coda, repeated duet material to Jan Peerce's 1945 recording of "Bluebird of Happiness," is imbued with irony. These two certainly aren't living a life of smiles, but touch each other with an old-fashioned, omnipresent ache before returning to their original corners like tired prizefighters. They'd surely do it all again.

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