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Flash Review 1, 3-24: Little Things Mean a Lot
Inflections in Post-modern eye

By Gus Solomons jr
Copyright 2004 Gus Solomons jr

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NEW YORK -- Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church brought Charles Linehan from England (March 18-21) with a concise program of two dances: a duet and a quartet. Linehan is a master minimalist, creating, with input from his terrific dancers, a stream of motion matrix, into which he inserts hints of emotional relationships, humor, and delightful kinetic surprises.

Linehan builds dense kinetic textures of continuous movement: swiveling torsos, jolted into new directions by loosely swung arms and bobbing heads; hopping, sliding, and crouching though space on supple legs. Motifs repeat and recombine with slight variations; then sparingly, new elements appear. The dancers maintain matter-of-fact demeanors; they wear color-coordinated street clothes and black, rubber-soled shoes for traction.

In "Grand Junction," previously reviewed here, Andrea Rauch moves to and fro in piercing side light (lighting by Mikki Kunttu, adapted by Fay Patterson). Then Greig Cooke, who waits downstage in silhouette, springs into action. They move without obvious awareness of each other, although they sometimes fall into unison, facing differently. Gradually, over the course of 25 minutes, the pair begins to touch, interact, and support each other, developing an engaging, multi-faceted relationship.

Melodic or electronic crashing or darkly ostinato music by Kimmo Pohjonnen, Nye Parry, and a commissioned piece by Julian Swales provide aural support. The sound texture changes mood with each section, even though it never gives overt rhythmic or dynamic cues. Tall, strongly built, flexible, and infinitely resilient Rauch radiates her extreme joy of moving; Cooke, lean and lanky, maintains a more solemn demeanor. The sure-footed, polished dancers perform with improvisational fluency, yet, as split second timing of seamless lifts attests, extreme precision.

"New Quartet" begins with Cooke, dancing alone then with Rauch in a haze that articulates Patterson's low, horizontal lighting. Rachel Vonmoos replaces Rauch as Cooke's partner. Her moving is equally supple but with a more direct attack. After Cooke leaves, small, bearded Ben Ash joins Vonmoos briefly, before a duet for the women. This piece has music by Swales, William Basinski, and someone named simply Gate.

In a duet for Vonmoos and Ash, what seem like glancing touches become preparations for lifts. Ash grabs Vonmoos's ankles, and she does a jump but goes nowhere, anchored by his grip. Cooke tilts Vonmoos in the air while she scissor-kicks, as if running in outer space; later, Ash keeps changing the direction of her walking by grabbing her upper thighs. With such inventive details Linehan inflects the familiar post-modern lexicon with an accent all his own.

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