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Review 3, 11-25: Possibilities
Klep Fails to Steal the Show
By Darrah Carr
Copyright 2003 Darrah Carr
NEW YORK -- Julia Ritter
Performance Group's second evening-length work, "Klep," which ran
last weekend at Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church as part of
Dance Access, failed to live up to its interdisciplinary billing.
Although original choreography, music, text, and video were indeed
all present, after the first 15 minutes, they simply coexisted.
The music and dance did relate throughout the piece, but the video
was played by itself and the dancers did not move much while talking.
Thus, what was touted as an interdisciplinary performance seemed
more like a presentation of independent disciplines. That the evening
started strong is a testament to Ritter's considerable talent and
experience in the interdisciplinary arena. That the work eventually
unraveled suggests it needn't have been evening-length.
Ritter wears many hats
-- choreographer, assistant professor of dance at Mason Gross School
of the Arts, student at Lynn Book's Voicelab, and occasional contributor
to this publication. Her diverse interests led her to collaborate
with composer Bradford Reed, writer Michael Duke, and videographer
Anne Paas on the creation of "Klep." Subtitled "Fear is a kleptomaniac
in the shop of possibilities," the work sets the protagonist (Christine
Bodwitch) against a chorus of five women who embody her fears and
alternately chase, taunt, and fight with her. At the start of the
show, Bodwitch tears pieces of paper, which the fears crumple and
eat, suggesting that they have already swallowed parts of her. Ritter
makes good use of the balcony at St. Mark's Church, as the dancers
dangle their arms across the edge, and lunge and fall against its
white rails, foreshadowing the rise and fall of Bodwitch's character's
haunting memories to come. Small triumphs occur as she moves through
a series of duets --vanquishing her fears with abruptly physical
partnering and quick footed, boxer-like weaving.
One of the evening's
pleasures was watching Dee Dee Mayland's flawless, fluid execution
of the choreography. Kathy Kaufmann's lighting design and Jessica
Jahn's crisp white costumes added smart, appropriate variety to
the work as well.
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