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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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