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Review 1, 2-3: Will Dance for Food
Out of the Box from all over the Place at Danspace Project
Copyright 2005 Gus Solomons jr
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NEW YORK -- This year's
annual Food for Thought at Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church
(January 28-30), which benefits neighborhood food distribution programs,
drew big crowds to showcases curated by three downtown dance luminaries,
Miguel Gutierrez, Nami Yamamoto, and Heidi Latsky, who chose performers
around the themes "Young Americans" (dancer/choreographers no older
than 23), "I was/am in NYC" (dance artists who spend part time in
New York), and "Out of the Box" (relocated former New Yorkers),
Many of the works proclaimed
strong kinetic voices: emerging and seasoned. Dancers carrying their
own props on and off stage lent charming informality to the production.
And Kathy Kaufmann's endlessly inventive lighting gave each dance
a distinctive atmosphere.
Young Americans (1.28)
In Chase Granoff's "part
of presence: space" with Jon Moniaci playing computer music, Granoff
wracked his body with improvisational vibratory movement. Laura
Gilbert ranted into a mic and subsequently did its kinetic counterpart:
an outburst of trance-like dancing in her "19th Century Amusement
Park." Both pieces remained provocative studies, if not yet fully
"Precious Little Something"
showcased inventive partnering by Michael Helland and Daniel Linehan,
two slight men who embody an enormous range of dynamic textures.
Likewise, Eleanor Bauer, a tall, assertive dancer with a steel-trap
mind, combined a recurring, dynamic dance phrase with a funny, pungent
lecture on the travails of the young dancer, trying to make her
mark: cajoling friends to wear her T-shirt, take her classes, and
attend her concerts. She literally eats her words, chomping on her
notes while reprising the dance phrase.
Beth Gill's "Marginal
Strip" for six women with an array of personal audio/visual devices
-- Discman, cassette player, boom-box, and two TVs -- on which Chris
Peck's music and video played quietly, revealed a unique, minimal
sensibility. The women walked around and crawled on the floor with
purposely pedestrian presence in a kind of anti-dance that accrued
impact by its very reticence.
Isabel Lewis's "Scriptura"
set her, Nancy Forshaw-Clapp, and Erika Hand into vibrant motion
to the sounds of Chris Lancaster's cello, playing extended techniques.
Lewis's movement builds momentum in tumble-about phrases that bear
her personal post-modern signature.
I was/am in NYC (1.29)
A quintet of Japanese
women, known as Yummy Dance, clowned around in "kNewman," to assorted
rock music. In their initial line-up, they gradually succumbed to
the rhythm: subtle swaying gradually escalated into wild gyrating
to the point of collapse. The frenetic energy with which they skittered
around the stage held our attention and kept us guessing.
In "The Edge of the
Fell," Linda Austin (who now lives in Portland, OR) plied her delicately
introverted physical explorations to the accompaniment of Angelina
Baldoz, who sensitively modified the movement, playing trumpet,
pan pipe, and assorted metal bowls. In "Some Kind of Travel" actor
Peter Schmitz delivered Woody Woodson's narrative with eccentric
wittiness, full of surprising pauses and unexpected vocal timbres,
recounting a road trip in an auto with an imaginary partner.
The divine dancer/actor
Cynthia Oliver, who teaches at the University of Illinois Urbana
Champaign, blithely demonstrated some "Lessons in Female Etiquette,"
in a collage of dancing, live speaking, her recorded voice, and
music by Jason Finkelman. She portrayed a would-be lady of manners,
trying vainly to stifle baser instincts beneath a veneer of civility.
Out of the Box (1.30)
Solos by four strong
women and a duet by a fifth made for a satisfying evening of mature
work, starting with Kelly Anderson dancing "The Weight of Skin,"
a lyrical ode by Janet Lilly, who formerly danced with Bill T. Jones/Arnie
Zane and now teaches at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.
The stately movement, set to music by English mystic John Tavener
and poetry by Susan Firer, painted a portrait of female reserve.
Delicate, almost wispy Catey Ott danced with Latsky and is now a
graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. To music
by Randall Woolf, she danced "Fury and Grace," a solo tending more
toward grace than fury.
In "Stay," Lisa Race
-- now relocated to New London, CT, with her mate David Dorfman
-- danced athletic, acrobatic movement, while she talked to and
about her father, who's prone to wandering off. She movingly entreated
him to "stay here." Li Chiao-Ping's "BaBa" was also a dance for
and about her father, who had ostensibly discouraged her from a
career in dancing, while secretly being an artist himself, as Li
discovered in his secret studio in his garage. Li's movement borrows
liberally from martial arts disciplines. Both Race and Li moved
with a lusty athleticism, as comfortable upside down as right side
Excerpts from "Collywobbles"
by Sara Hook, also transplanted to the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign, received a splendid performance by Buffy Barfoot
and Nic Petry. The wacky couple seemed to have no sense of personal
boundaries, nuzzling each other's crotches and humping like bunnies
between quirky bursts of independent action.
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