featured photo
The Kitchen
Brought to you by
Body Wrappers;
New York Flash Review Sponsor
the New York manufacturer of fine dance apparel for women and girls. Click here to see a sample of our products and a list of web sites for purchasing.
With Body Wrappers it's always
performance at its best.

Go back to Flash Reviews
Go Home

Flash Review 3, 1-29: Giddy-up!
Brawling, Broncos, even an Underwater Cowgirl Ballet -- "Trick Saddle" has it All

By Peggy Cheng
Copyright 2003 Peggy Cheng

NEW YORK -- "Trick Saddle," created and conceived by Clove Galilee (choreographer & producer) and Jenny Rogers (director & designer), opened Friday night at P.S.122. A parade of scenes, strung together by the images of an underwater cowboy (girl, actually) ballet video, were accompanied by the music of Allison Cornell with guest lyricist Lee Breuer, and musicians Johnny Cunningham, Casey Neel, and vocals by painter Robert Yarber. In "Trick Saddle," the cowGIRLS are the horse-riding, cussing, brawling strutters in town. And this particular gang rode into town with quite a few spirited dance numbers, some introspective lone cowgirl moments, and transformations into bucking broncos.

In one scene, a wild bronco defiantly struggles against taming (performed with rolling eyes and lean limbs by LoMa Familar). In another, a cowgirl displays calm and strength (the sustained muscular saddle-bound adagio of Hope Clark), reminding me of the resiliency and addictive love to the wide open Wild West that I've read about in the stories of the "American pioneers." At the same time, Galilee and Rogers found ways to poke fun at these images, providing the less romantic viewpoint. Brawling was less violent then comical when waddling shuffles and punches dissolved into slow-motion action comedy, while in the underwater ballet goofy water-treading was substituted for the dangerous showdown walk preceding the gun-slinging climax, and hats hovered over girlish faces with flowing hair even as heels kicked with devilish delight.

Dialogue, written by Rogers, as well as a re-creation of an actual cowboy interview, allowed us to appreciate Karen Kandel's talents with multiple voices. Silhouetted against the scrim (silhouettes and use of the scrim being a big part of the entertaining visual design of "Trick Saddle"), Kandel acted out an interview between a cowboy and interviewer, voice deep and twanged, cattle calls yodeling out of him into the distance. In a turn from the lightheartedness of most of the piece, Francesca Harper leapt and loped across stage, hunted and terrified. Throughout it all, Galilee engaged me with her amazing ability to twitch and stroll like a wasted cowboy.

Although the show roamed in many directions with spirited drive, exploring all manner of saddle and space, there was a meandering quality to the performance. In the end, the cowgirls survive by their strong point -- their wits. Despite the brawling, chasing, hunting, taming, and general chaos of this rodeo, their tricks are still quick to the draw. "Trick Saddle" is less a well-designed ruse than a romp through familiar images with many a playful twist.

"Trick Saddle" runs Wednesday through Sunday, 8:30 p.m., through February 9. You can also check-out "Range," an exhibit of large-scale digital photographs culled from the underwater cowboy ballet by Jenny Rogers, in P.S. 122's second floor gallery space.

Go back to Flash Reviews
Go Home