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
Review 1, 3-5: Free Range
Monson & Zambrano Find Their Natural Habitat; Archibald & Owens Serve
It Up; Wade Rants & Raves
By Lisa Kraus
Copyright 2004 Lisa Kraus
New! Sponsor a Flash!
NEW YORK -- Movement
Research at the Judson Church played host to a substantial spread
of works on Monday. The series, which is free, draws a large, lively
audience that comes ready for fun. It wasn't disappointed.
As it progresses, I'm
never sure how seriously to take "The Finger of Isolation" by Jeremy
Wade and Marcos Rosales, with its central rant and allusions to
"transgressive desires for each other" and "gay pornography degradation."
Wade and Rosales seem to be tongue-in-cheek and then again, not.
The beginning of the piece sets us up for a send-up. From two wriggling
human-sized black bags in the space, miked human sounds emerge --
a burp, some nasty farts -- uh-oh. More thrashing around and the
occupant of each bag cuts his way out; we see first one masked head
in gray wig, bushy beard and black hat. The two sit, identically
costumed, puddle-like, lost characters from Beckett with macho gold
chains and medallions. From there they take turns spewing text --
changing accents and moods from Gaby Hayes Western to raging diatribe.
The unanchored shifts are fun and Wade plants himself in angular
shapes to underscore the proclamations. He's a piston, he plays
air guitar, he's a swivel-hipped disco king, having a burlesque
moment. The piece never stays on one note for long.
It's fun when the text
becomes aural texture, when the ridiculous getups and shifts of
accent and mood seem intended as plain old over-the-top and we just
relax. But when it seems there's some real message to be heard,
it's a strain to get it and it grates. In the end both men take
on a weepy tone and refer to the young men who "mysteriously die
on or near their 21st birthday" and it's over, leaving me befuddled
Wade's second appearance
on the program was unambiguous. Billed as "Work-in-Progress March
First," with raspy live amplified guitar and bass by Loren Dempster
and David Beardsley, it lets Wade go deep into a transporting physical
research. Wade takes a minute to hit his stride, starting with improvisational
tentativeness, but as he sinks in, taking himself through a kind
of birthing of flailing out arms and legs, he becomes compelling
and convulsive. No moment is without struggle. Wade places himself
clearly in space and makes clean trajectories but his moves are
cyclic, manic, shaking. The limitations Wade places on himself makes
for peculiar and intriguing coordinations -- walking three-limbed,
one hand held behind the back, or on one knee and one foot. Each
action repeats like a physical stuttering, as though he is testing
each one out, and building -- letting the speed break into a trot,
a run, a wild flailing. All nerves gone haywire and stunning force.
I have never seen anyone move his head so fast and wildly. Wade
has found a kind of autistic virtuosity with clawing hands and noodly
hunchback deformity. He's a cartoon man, he's a jello man, his body
caves in, his mouth hangs open on an impossible journey. At the
finish, the audience hoots, happy and perhaps relieved too.
In the one easy-to-read
narrative on the program, Renee Archibald and Daryl Owens in "After
Hours Order Fire" offer us the message that working in a restaurant
is a bitch. In their thoroughly-worked choreography, they dance
their way through a demonstration of how chaotic, stressed and unreasonable
it really is to give an illusion of seamless service. They begin
with a familiar but off-kilter picture in cutaway server garb, swooping
into the near-miss traffic patterns of a busy establishment. Later
they edge toward Chaplin with stiffly held shapes. The dancing is
mostly easy spirals and twists, and big leg swoops and stretches.
Moments in the customer/waitperson
exchange are highlighted. One poignant exchange has the server guessing
out loud what a silent customer is requesting. The customer's departure
is described in another clever piece of visual theatre, an endless
string of near miss contacts. The intrepid servers put on a show,
dancing Latin style and flourishing their Spanish. Yep, the customer's
It's all clever and
solid enough. But I'd like to see this affable duo's strengths stretched
to some further extreme. My favorite moment, which comes close to
the finish, is all too brief -- a Fellini-esque swirl of flying
receipts, leaping waitresses and circus music. Archiblad and Owens
anchor themselves swiftly again within their story in a leaden way,
not allowing the ridiculous to transform into the sublime.
Maybe it's because I
know about Jennifer Monson's Bird Brain project that I view her "Improvisation" with
David Zambrano as akin to animal behavior. The two share a territory:
the open space of the church. In it they run, collide, play, ignore,
fly, groom and spat. Like monkeys whose attention shifts are lightning
fast, they could be drawn anywhere at any time and seemingly natural
events deflect their trajectories unpredictably. Headed that way?
Oops -- fly zings by, catch it!
Simone Forti, an elder
in Monson's lineage, spent lots of time watching animals at the
Bronx Zoo and bringing their captured motion to life in performance.
Monson expands the brief. She and Zambrano in their habitat revel
in their dancer/animal range of possibilities. Watching's like a
pleasurable afternoon at the zoo. And not. Sure a hand becomes a
claw and yes some animals move just for the sake of it, but these
two propel themselves attracted by nothing so much as wanting to
see how different parts of the body will kick in to a longer stream
of moves. It's a field of surprise, just as this moment's a new
one -- this itch, this urge, this wish to contact is just for now.
Monson's hands turn
her, exploring the space within range, feet stepping on all surfaces
-- toe pads and squishy heels. She breaks at an elbow, does an easy
crashing slide into floor, grounded. She's become so fine tuned,
she plays anywhere on the range of tension. Nothing is here because
it's flashy. Her movement sentences just tumble out. Zambrano fires
off rapid streams of easily springy movement, often starting from
a feet grounded incline. We hear him think too -- snippets of talk
and offhand comment; "They have to fix the floor," he says, sliding
a playing card, and as it gets caught on the floor's unevenness
Zambrano and Monson
have the easy familiarity of friends whose bodies are comfortable
together but not sexually charged. Flying fingers say "Here I am!"
A look says "Coming at you!" They make satisfying space pictures,
arm calligraphy and tappy rhythms. The music is by Doug Henderson
using all manner of soundmakers -- tossing coins, rubbing cards,
swishing hands in water -- and Guy Yarden, who provides electronic
hum, vibrations, and throbs. We have a windy tunnel, a whale, a
secret corridor, all evocations of another kind of real world, perfect
to play in.
Speaking of play, it
seemed hard for the four to find a clear end, just as kids having
to drag themselves in on a summer night straggle back. We forgive
them -- it's so much fun out there.
Lisa Kraus will perform at Movement Research at the Judson Church
on March 29. Her ongoing web log is "Writing My Dancing Life."
Go back to Flash Reviews