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Review 2, 10-14: Architexture
Following the Curve of the Locus with Gonzalez & Ott
By Tom Patrick
Copyright 2003 Tom Patrick
LOCUS n. 1. position.
2. curve, etc., formed by all points satisfying certain conditions.
See also PLACE.
-- The Oxford Desk Dictionary
and Thesaurus, American edition
NEW YORK -- I have more
and more admiration for the Danspace Project folks curating at St.
Mark's Church.... Each event I attend there shows me what a versatile
space it is, a lovely temple of dance with that blonde wood floor
and such great acoustics.
This past weekend's
performance of Eun Jung Gonzalez and Catey Ott's program "Locus"
was a great treat. These two well-connected choreographers continue
their streak as individual creators and very compatible collaborators
in a triptych of great sophistication.
"Stained Glass" -- a
premiere by Ms. Ott -- led things off. Those intriguing golden fabrics
we'd seen attached to the columns (as the audience was seated on
the altar-end of the space) coming in were wrapped around the choreographer
and Ms. Gonzalez as well as Samantha Harvey and Dusan Tynek, effectively
cocooning them. Ott emerged alone, unwinding tentatively for a moment
and then blossoming into an exuberant solo. She seemed so taken
with the freedom...her thoughts and ours swayed from anyone else
present, and she freely danced the piece's compelling thesis. After
Ott reluctantly returned to her wrapped state, the others emerged
and sociology intruded as they mutated the material with the added
dimension of plurality. Intensity increased as these three were
only too well aware of the tethered Ms. Ott, and in time they approached
her. Once she was again freed, their team retreated, and the power-of-one
Ott and Gonzalez created
and starred in this year's "Through and Through," a mercurial duet
built in a great lighting design. (Carol Mullins provided compelling
and beautiful lighting design for the entire evening.) Emerging
from their lit frontiers, crossing borders, the pair drew on the
increasing gravity-between with sharp and deft dancing until they
were ultimately tethered to each other: bridging their original
boundaries, but also betraying the autonomy that was once there.
Their choreographic material was sharply focused, levered in the
place between play and tension, and they are both superb dancers.
Gonzalez's "Muted Narrative"
premiered next, admirably reaching for the stars technologically
but really soaring from the material and dancing itself. The opening
imagery, from starry fields through dancers entering in self-lit
star-covered jackets was neat but understated, and when the edgy
quartet really took off seemed auxiliary to the piece's complex
architecture. Seemingly independent threads jumped into phase unexpectedly,
and chameleon moods were everywhere, keeping this environment uncertain.
From Ms. Gonzalez's reverie of frustration through the crescendos
of saccharin smiles, this quartet -- Ms. Harvey returned too, joined
by the cherubic Toni Melaas -- was non-stop interesting. Far from
discouraging Ms. Gonzalez's integration of light with her choreographic
idiom, this DI says: go higher on the wattage, be bolder (but nix
on the loud Velcro).
That said, I must stress
that the whole evening was conceived and delivered beautifully,
thoughtfully. This team is extremely creative, and nothing was arbitrary
or just "kinda." Costume designs by Ott and Gonzalez throughout
(with Brigette Pfeifer for the opener) were arresting and quite
attractive. As previously mentioned, Carol Mullins (and technical
director Amanda Ringger) created a really compelling environment
in the pretty church-cum-theater that is Saint Mark's.
Excellent music lived
throughout, courtesy of Robin Cox up in the loft with his Ensemble...compelling
strings and mallets. Cox's chops -- a Lester Horton Award for Outstanding
Achievement in Music for Modern Dance convinces me! -- make him
a catch of a composer and performer. I liked the spookiness, the
tension, the mournful Shostakovich-esque simplicity....
Kudos! This act was
a brief weekend, but do look for more from these folks....
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