to you by
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 2, 6-22: Notes from the Underground
Lafrance's "Noir" Flirts with the Lower East Side
By April Biggs
Copyright 2004 April Biggs
Sponsor a Flash!
NEW YORK -- It's May
22, a warm, stuffy night in the Delancey and Essex Municipal Parking
Garage. We keep hearing car doors slamming and this red-headed tomato
dressed in an old fur coat and vintage pumps roams from the concrete
stairwell to disappear around the bend at the top of the ramp. Why
not? This is "Noir," Noemie Lafrance's most recent site-specific
work, co-presented by Danspace Project's Out of Space/Site series
We settle into seats
of parked cars, also warm and stuffy. It seems that maybe the dance
has begun. But then, it's difficult to discern the true opening
because the woman in the heavy fur coat scurries by again. This
time she is looking over her shoulder, pursued by a stalker in trench
coat, hands stuffed in pockets. The incident repeats -- with more
than one man, with other women, with a bicycle even. But now, instead
of slamming car doors, a shrill sound pierces the garage. This is
dangerous. And then, like a bad melodrama, the redheaded tomato
climbs into an empty car and tries to start the engine. It won't
turn over. Will he catch her? She meets him with the aim of a silver
revolver -- dread softens into an emblematic noir-esque kiss.
Things shift tone. The
men in trench coats lift and twist women in fitted black dresses,
chic with sleek hair and dark lips. The bodies are flung fast in
windmill-like movements where arms, then legs, then arms again bring
their heads within inches of the cement floor. In a fight scene,
men crawl across one another to vault and lunge in all directions.
The voice-over montage of film dialogue excerpts, heard amidst the
score of violin screech and big band, is barely audible and enigmatic
at best. In film noir, this device hands us the plot; "Noir" attempts
nothing of the sort. The changes in costumes, mostly in black and
white hues, make it seem as if we are watching a chorus of 20 dancers
instead of ten, a welcome deception in the typical five-member-company
downtown dance terrain.
of a Bessie award in 2003 for her work "Descent," is no stranger
to taking her choreography out of the theater and into ordinary
places. But a less lengthy "Noir" may be more here, as the piece
again and again disarms itself. The playbill makes the effort to
name each player, yet the absence of any coherent narrative leaves
us adrift. The atmosphere is impressive, though. Floodlights beneath
the cars emulate headlights. A man is shut into the rear of a car
and left there to kick and beat on the trunk from the inside. Smoke
and whispers fill the air and shape the illusion of a dark alley.
A rolling yellow barrel acts as a curtain between scenes; a blonde
femme fatale saunters from one end of the garage to the other with
her acoustic guitar. The first and only smile we see in the piece
comes in the ballroom scene. A chandelier hangs from a hook in the
center of the garage and the couples twirl blithely to the song
"I Got It Bad." Soon after, blinds drop from the ceiling and the
dancers thrash about in what could be romantic or violent passion
-- a thin line often exposed in this genre.
The dames in "Noir"
are heavy smokers with a lusty appetite for the provocative. I find
myself wondering, "Is she his prize or target?" She has done her
job. We are deceived.
April Biggs is a poet and dance artist who has performed with
Silverbrown Dance and Vandance, and has studied with Bebe Miller,
Ron Brown, Mark Haim, Myra Woodruff, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Joe
Goode, and others.
The Danspace Project season concludes this Thursday through Sunday
with Kimberly Bartosik. For more information, please click
Go back to Flash Reviews