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Flash Review 1, 4-9: In a BRIC House
Solos Out of Space

By Susan Yung
Copyright 2004 Susan Yung

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NEW YORK -- The dance solo is an ideal genre for the uniquely gifted dancer, such as Baryshnikov or Peter Boal, or charismatic choreographers like Trisha Brown or Molissa Fenley, who don't need to rely on the automatic drama created by another's presence. It's also, by necessity, an entry point into choreography for young dancers with few resources. So it's often those with the least experience tackling perhaps the most deceptively difficult exercise in choreography. Seen April 2, five solos were performed at Out of Space @ BRIC Studio, co-presented by BRIC (Brooklyn Information & Culture) and Danspace Project and curated by Marya Wethers. The studio, in Fort Greene adjacent to the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Harvey Theater, is a cool surprise, a black box theater with cafe tables. The setting provided a comfortable atmosphere for these very personal statements.

Two pieces emerged as the strongest physical expressions of emotion. At the start of "In Degrees of Breath," Takemi Kitamura's actions were commanded by her independent-minded limbs. Impressively coordinated and a rewardingly intelligent performer, Kitamura moved in two directions at once, eventually gaining control of her errant limbs. She softly lowered her arms as if they were on pillows, and breathed with great calm, and total control.

Christina May began "Outside Of The Bud" curled over her legs, her body heaving with anger or sorrow, and moved through poses suggesting a defensive desperation. She plucked her hand away from her stomach, pointed her finger accusingly, and drew her hands across her neck and waist menacingly. In a grey cotton dress with a lace collar, May seemed the embodiment of innocence betrayed. Less effective was Jessi Scopp performing Sharon Estacio's "Undergrowth," in which she appeared to be in a daze, moving her limbs and hands stiffly. The piano music by Debussy provided drama, but the movement was no match.

In "She holds it up straight in front of her & marches around Man with it," Eleanor Bauer came off as a compelling stage presence navigating terrain that has, in recent seasons, become familiar: noise as sound, and the use of the entire theater, including non-stage areas, for performance. Bauer entered from the back of the house in a natty cocktail dress and heels, which she shed after walking the edge of the dais like a balance beam. She lay down, seemingly ignorant of our presence, and curled onto her side like an odalisque, gaining a sudden self-consciousness. Bauer recruited composer Chris Peck, situated onstage with his equipment, to join her in a sort of Simon Says. Peck has become a fixture among dance composers -- I just saw a David Dorfman piece with his scoring -- but I confess to dreading his eardrum-blowing noise levels, which at a certain point become abusive.

Layard Thompson's "Event Horizon" began promisingly, with Thompson wrapped mummy-style, tethered to a pole, a video of an ocean horizon on screen. But after Thompson unbound himself (as we knew he must) and the piece of fabric was stretched across the stage, his draggy-footed circles and faint gestures repeated one too many times, to the point of irritation. Another thing about solos: Not enough can be said in praise of editing.

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