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, 3-26: An American on 42nd Street
At Home with David Dorfman
By Maura Nguyen Donohue
Copyright 2004 Maura Nguyen Donohue
New! Sponsor a Flash!
NEW YORK -- I've been
thinking a lot about American-ness lately. Actually, I think about
American-ness all the time but having been enmeshed in an international collaboration with a troupe from Vietnam
for the past few weeks I've been thinking about it as related to
contemporary dance. Last night, as part of the 10th Anniversary
season of the 92nd St. Y Harkness Dance Project at the Duke on 42nd
Street, David Dorfman Dance provided me with the example I want
to cite the next time I have to describe American dance to an Asian
peer. We are deep and humorous, adamantly informal and absolute
mad dog dancers.
Before the show David
Dorfman works the crowd, wandering amidst the audience, saying hellos
and pressing flesh like the affable mayor of Danceville. The dancers
are warming up on a bare stage that has been stripped to the walls
to resemble a working studio. Dorfman later says this choice reflects
the disproportionate nature of brief performances versus months
of rehearsal. It is most appropriate here, where so much of the
process is part of the work.
a premiere, begins with a solo for Dorfman. He walks across the
stage, Michael Wall begins playing the piano and I feel a rush of
pride or delight or anticipation. I want to nudge my Vietnamese
collaborators with a "yeah dawg, you'll see, we come in all shapes
and sizes here." Dorfman can stun any noviate to modern dance. He's
the sneaky Average Joe who looks like a linebacker and creates work
with overwhelming craft. Of course, this crafty choreographer's
greatest gift may be his cultivation of excellent collaborators,
primarily dancers. This company could represent a utopian vision
of dance-making where dancers are fully creative artists, credited
as collaborators and allowed their individuality.
After Dorfman reads
a passage referring to fathers and sons, Paul Matteson, Heather
McArdle, Jennifer Nugent and Joseph Paulson are revealed first on
the backstage balcony performing a post-modern kick line. After
then entering through the upstage left door they begin a quartet
quietly, as Paulson pounds his fists reflecting an internal stress.
A bright dance follows with a series of movement phrases and marching
punctuated by the women's giddy squeals and shouts of "Wow." The
dancers repeatedly ask us if we've heard the two different theories
about light bulbs: Some are said to flicker before they go out and
some just go out. The text is returned to several times in impressive
solos by each dancer, along with the question of whether it is "better
for a life, I mean light, to flicker or just go out" and in the
midst of infectious dance I'm pondering grief and loss.
Dorfman's dances can
race past you. There are rushes of sweeping movement that flow over
you so that in reflection you only remember sparks. It's appropriate,
because Nugent is explosive. She sweeps and kicks and drops with
ferocious glee. She is powerful, strong and flexible, cute and sexy.
She's the dancer I want to be when I grow up. When she's paired
with Matteson, the two become a new entity, one creature rabidly
devouring the space in a series of thrilling weight shifts.
The evening's second
work and premiere, "Impending Joy," has an entirely different tone.
Chris Peck's electronic score, also performed live, is a sonic assault.
This landscape is painful as compared to the nostalgic feeling evoked
by the piano of "Lightbulb Theory." A pile of wire netting and pickets
from a fence sits downstage center. The other dancers pile Paulson
with pickets and urge him out of the space. He begins a solo full
of direct movement, sharp slices and aggressive drops while Matteson,
McArdle and Nugent stand in half of the stage washed in red light,
designed by Josh Epstein. Paulson throws himself at Matteson even
after Matteson has vacated the space. Paulson pathetically drops
pickets across the stage. Matteson performs a constricted, distressed
solo gesturing to his gut and reaching away while speaking phrases
and partial phrases like "You deserve to be" and "You will die."
There is an automated
rigor to the dancing that serves as an enjoyable companion to the
expansiveness of the first work. As the piece draws to a conclusion,
each dancer pulls parts of the fence apart. Nugent is wrapped in
the fence; McAdle winds the metal wire around herself and the men
struggle with piles of pickets. As Nugent speaks a series of lines
beginning with "This is where..." a last light cue of red on the
balcony sets a hallucinatory tone and I suddenly glimpse the special
little hell that home ownership can offer.
David Dorfman Dance
continues at the Duke Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 & 7 p.m.
There is no show Friday.
Maura Nguyen Donohue is the artistic director of Maura Nguyen
Donohue/In Mixed Company, whose "Enemy/Territory," a collaboration
with Hanoi-based choreographer Le Vu Long, continues tonight and
Saturday at Dance Theater Workshop. For more information on "Enemy/Territory,"
please click here.
Go back to Flash Reviews