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Review 1, 10-27: Much Ado
In Search of Meaning with Curt Haworth
By Gus Solomons jr
Copyright 2003 Gus Solomons jr
NEW YORK -- A long-time
dancer with David Dorfman, Curt Haworth has set forth on his own
choreographic journey -- without, alas, the benefit of an editor.
From October 23 to 26, Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church presented
Haworth's "Glass Box" and "Amnesia." His vigorous movement style
combines acrobatics, martial arts, and contact improvisation. As
a dancer, Haworth, a sturdy athletic fellow, fearlessly launches
into the ground, cart-wheeling one-handed, somersaulting over a
shoulder, sliding on his hip with the ferocity of a pro baseball
player stealing home.
His dancers share a
lusty appetite for hurling themselves to the ground, sliding and
rolling: Lauren Beale, Amanda Loulaki, Daryl Owens, Anna Sofia Kallinikidou,
Edward Winslow and Jason Akira Somma even manage from time to time
to lend dramatic intention to the movement with their physically
daring, assured performances of it.
Both of Haworth's dances
begin promisingly: "Glass Box," with its five dancers sequentially
careening laterally out of a straight line formation into topsy-turvy
phrases; and "Amnesia," with a strong solo for Owens, gliding on
her belly with reptilian facileness. But after these striking opening
images, both dances devolve into rambling streams-of-consciousness:
repetitious motifs, punctuated by overlong solos, duets, and trios,
which remain dynamically level and don't move toward a clear, cohesive
Choosing the same collaborators
to costume and create music for both pieces compounds their similarity.
Costumer Wendy Winters favors slightly deconstructed pedestrian
looks: in "Box," vests over shirts and slacks on the men; a maxi-skirt,
a black ballerina dress, and hot pants for the three women. For
"Amnesia" the two men and three women all wear sports shirts with
collar and color variations and dark, clam-digger length pants.
Jonathan Segel's electronic
collages add multifarious textures -- minimal drones to rhythmic
pulses -- but do not help to shape the structure. When in "Box"
the dancers reprise their opening movement -- but with different
music -- the gesture toward classic form still doesn't give us a
clue to the meaning of the dance.
Nonetheless, there are
satisfying nuggets like an extended duet in "Box" for Owen and Somma.
She leaps repeatedly onto his back, and he flips her around in various
ways. In "Amnesia," Amanda Loulaki throws a tantrum, repeatedly
shouting, "No!" and whacking at her arms, then wrapping them tightly
around her body, constricting her mobility. Then she pleads into
a downstage microphone, "I don't remember.... I didn't do anything...,"
while upstage, an aggressive trio of slippery contact lifts leaves
Winslow prostrate, done in by Beale and Haworth.
David Fritz lights the
dances from intriguingly odd angles, creating provocative spatial
accents and dramatic undertones. But choreographically Haworth needs
to focus his vision and clarify his expressive intentions to give
his energetic dances emotional punch.
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