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Flash Review 1, 1-28: Barefoot & Salty
Miller Lands, Holmes Salvages

By Maura Nguyen Donohue
Copyright 2004 Maura Nguyen Donohue

This Flash Review is also sponsored by Lydia Johnson Dance. Want to sponsor a Flash? Click here for more information.

NEW YORK -- K.J. Holmes and the Bebe Miller Company presented enticing sketches during their shared evening of works-in-progress at Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church this past weekend. According to her press release, Miller's "Landing/Place," which premieres officially next year, concerns the impact of the unfamiliar on the every day. It's a collision of images that tells you you're not at home. At this stage I didn't find the images distancing or alien but rather warm, compelling and comforting. In fact, at one point the mix of the Church sanctuary setting with animated images and soothing sound design reminded me of a dawn return home after a long night out.

The work opens with a projection on a black scrim hung downstage in the sanctuary. Dots of light appear like a constellation run amok. Gradually the buoyant Little Dipper expands and we realize we're watching captured points on a dancer's body. More black and white projections, designed by Maya Ciarrocchi, appear on the back wall. Though the projections upstage Kathleen Hermesdorf's first entrance she, Kathleen Fisher, Darrell Jones, Angie Hauser and David Thomson soon outshine the multimedia elements with bursts of brilliant dancing. Extended sequences full of repetition surround rushes of vibrant movement with dancers sometimes reaching awkwardly, gleefully vibrating or lushly devouring space. After Hauser chops lemons each performer, including musician Albert Mathias, sucks and jiggles, becoming a human blender.

Jones keeps an open crate of lemons intact while jumping repeatedly in place like a joyful young boy. We catch a sudden glimpse of warm, happy days spent barefoot and salty.

Holmes presented "Salvage," the second half of her evening-length "Wreckage/and Salvage." This exploration of time, memory, and vision happens in mostly improvised solos and duets in which the choreographer is joined by Lisa Gonzalez and Kayvon Pourazar. Pourazar begins by dropping a path of dried leaves on a diagonal. Holmes's voice resounds through the space as she sings from the balcony with a purity and strength that tugs at my gut. Gonzalez is all limbs and fingers as she reaches and plies in a sequence that echoes the leaves she crunches, cold and detached. Pourazar blasts the brooding atmosphere apart. He's a rambunctious male tossing himself about, scattering leaves and attacking the space. There are moments when the dead leaves and dark score seem to accentuate the inherent commentary on age and gender, with Pourazar and Gonzalez appearing childlike beside the vivacious and veteran Holmes. She overwhelms us with an opulent display of performative riches revealing a woman experienced at treasure seeking on stage.

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