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Review 3, 10-28: Touch & Go
Gotzkowsky from the Inside Out
By Beliz Demircioglu
Copyright 2004 Beliz Demircioglu
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NEW YORK -- Throughout
Isabel Gotzkowsky and Friends' program at the Kitchen, seen October
16, one thing that constantly grabbed my attention was Gotzkowsky's
precise way of playing with touch and support. There was a certain
intention in each physical interaction between the dancers. Every
touch looked thought-out and purposeful.
"In/side out," the first
piece on the program, involved a video projection by Noah Khoshbin
and three hanging and one standing transparent fabric tube by Eugene
Tsai. The work began with a video of numbers ticking down from around
20:15:00. The descending time counter created a curiosity about
what would happen when the clock reached 0. When it did, the music
climaxed but the choreography didn't reflect this moment as strongly.
Throughout the piece
seven dancers explored personal and public space by using the tubes,
sometimes placing themselves in them and stretching the fabric with
their movements, other times being placed there by others. Gotzkowsky
made the stage dynamic in a few ways. First, she constantly played
with who was on stage and did it so smoothly that every transition
felt complete. Second, she constantly changed the interaction between
the dancers. Playful at times, the partnering in the duets and trios
was creative with lifts. Her theatrical and athletic movements read
grounded and light at the same time on her strong dancers. The energy
of the piece was advanced even further by Helena Fredriksson's red
and orange costumes.
The movement was so
intriguing and complete in itself that when video footage of a collapsing
wall and someone passing through it in slow motion intruded, it
seemed out of place and distracting.
The performance continued
with the premiere of "What Will Be." Designed by Gotzkowsky and
Vincent Inconiglios, the set here consisted of different elements
that divided the space: Metal bars on the floor, a black elevated
platform on stage right and a board with rotating blinds on stage
left. The blinds were sometimes changed by a dancer and would become
transparent. This changeable board created two different places
on stage left. When it became transparent and showed the place behind,
it seemed as if what was seen in the back area was happening somewhere
else in the world and we were seeing just a vision of it. The performers
explored these different areas on stage, creating and re-creating
their paths. The movement frequently changed direction and this
strengthened Gotzkowsky's evident point about the need to shift
and search to find a path. This search was also reflected in the
electronic music of the piece with a violin coming in and out, starting
a melody and not finishing it.
My favorite part of
"What Will Be" was the conclusion, in which the four dancers walked
from center downstage upstage with their backs towards the audience.
They changed the blinds of the upright board once more to their
initial appearance, a photo collage of different parts of women.
The violin completed its melody for the first time. The dancers
ran to the black elevated platform on stage right. Forming a circle,
they held hands in the middle and leaned away. As they turned to
the center of the circle, they continued holding hands and the lights
slowly faded. From a beginning which highlighted individual distinction,
the choreographer had brought her players to a final ensemble tableau
in which they retained their individuality while attaining a certain
unity. Unfortunately the middle of the piece didn't stand on its
own as strong as this ending. It continued a bit too long after
its point was already made.
The program's last entry,
"Crossroads," was created around 9/11, when the company was in residence
at the Yard. The set for this piece, designed by Gotzkowsky and
Kurt Ossenfort, included human-scale box-like objects empty in the
middle. The dancers constantly interacted with these pieces and
always changed the way they played with them. As they moved them
from long-side up to short-side up, visually the stage was transformed
into another space. The changed landscape seemed to reflect situations
in life when something so known becomes so foreign. The objects
sometimes looked like boxes, and sometimes like doors changing with
The dance covered the
choices the performers made, the doors they went through and the
people that affected them. It showed how relationships can sometimes
support and sometimes stop you.
The movement here was
very precise in direction and this was reflected in the bodies and
focus of the dancers. The energy of Gotzkowsky's movement flew at
just the right pace. Every aspect of the dance reflected the variety
of life: music, movement, and mood. The eclectic score, mixed and
arranged by Brian Aumuller and Gotzkowsky, ranged from the cello
group Apocalyptica's version of Metallica's "The Unforgiven" to
children's voice recordings.
At the end of "Crossroads,"
the boxes were used to separate couples, with one performer laying
in the box and another looking down at him or her. Gotzkowsky finished
with a strong metaphor here by leaving us with this image as the
words "memory" and "death" were heard in the music.
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