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 1, 8-14: Ladies 'r' Us
Running Out with Eva Dean Dance

By Gus Solomons jr
Copyright 2003 Gus Solomons jr

NEW YORK -- One of the many dance attractions at this year's New York International Fringe Festival, Brooklyn-based Eva Dean Dance wants hard to be liked. Seen this past Tuesday night at Washington Square United Methodist Church, Dean herself dances with the verve of a college dance teacher, breathily setting an example for her colleagues. Her nine women dancers are accomplished and emotively more restrained than their leader in four cordial dances, three touted as world premieres, although at least two of the three are re-workings of earlier pieces.

Dean makes pretty patterns in space, often using lilting runs and breathy galloping turns. Dancers are attired in Jean Hill's attractive, usually matching costumes. Whether there's overt emotional content, as in the 1991"Welcome Back," or simply lyrical patterning, as in "Moon Garden," the dances are delicate in texture, reflecting a decidedly female sensibility; needlepoint comes to mind.

In the former dance, the strongest of the evening, four schoolgirls, Cassie May, Brooke Welty, Rachel Frank, and Mandy Sau-Yi Chan, in gray uniforms with red neck bows taunt a fifth, Jessica Calhoun, whose kerchief is blue: uh-oh, an oddball. A sixth girl, Laura Nash, comes to her rescue and reconciles her with the group -- all but one mean holdout, Frank.

The latter piece, set to an excerpt from the Asian-sounding "Lonesome" by the Alloy Orchestra, is an etude, in which five women wearing sheer, midnight-blue pantaloons walk serenely, tossing softball-size balls into the air and catching them, or swaddling transparent yellow balloons with their forearms and rolling them along their limbs. The piece remains an exercise: pretty motifs in search of an expressive statement that would transform it into a dance.

"Away From One's Front" is self-descriptive. Four dancers run backward, trying not to collide -- ninety percent of the choreography. It's harder than you think, as one unmitigated collision and spill illustrate. But Dean runs out of new ways to develop her concept before the dance's fifteen minutes are up. Endlessly looping electric music of New Age persuasion by Pressure Drop and Sven Van Hees becomes more soporific than hypnotic.

Throughout the program, Zoe Klein's lighting does a lot with minimal equipment in the voluminous church sanctuary, and stage manager Adam Glick hits all his cues smartly.

The big finish, "Booted," begins with Nash and Calhoun, in glitzy prom gowns and combat boots, flirtatiously beating out a simple toe-heel-heel-stamp rhythm. They're joined by five other characters similarly dressed: one sulky, one sassy, one bored, one dizzy, one perky. Then Chan and Frank in pedal-pushers, white aprons, and high heels fling fancy pumps at the septet. The women stomp around, holding shoes to their ears like Agent Smart listening to shoe phones.

Calhoun croons "High Heel Blues." Lyrics by Patricia Cathcart Andress slaughter meter as they comment on the folly of wearing that footwear. Couples duel with stilettos; one woman even commits suicide, stabbing a heel into her own gut. Potentially funny ideas are rendered with sorority-house silliness and stretched to aggravating length. But don't take my word for it; see for yourself, when "Booted" repeats this Saturday and next Wednesday.

Go back to Flash Reviews
Go Home