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Review 3, 3-16: Borderlines
Gotheiner Charts the 'Territory'
Copyright 2005 Beliz Demircioglu
NEW YORK -- Zvi Gotheiner's
new "Territories," seen February 26 at the Duke as part of the 92nd
Street Y Harkness Dance Project, is physically and intellectually
inspiring. From the moment the audience entered the theater, Gotheiner
and his Zvidance performers dropped clues that the evening would
offer different ways of looking at borders and territories. The
stage seemed wide-open and exposed, revealing the dancers, dressed
in black rehearsal clothes, 'warming up' and measuring parts of
their bodies and of the stage with a tape measure while we found
our seats. One performer, Eric Hoisington, walked up to a spotlight
and measured the length of the circle illuminating him, continuing
to measure as he retreated and the spot's dimensions changed.
In order to explore
multiple ideas of 'Territories,' Gotheiner found various ways of
measuring bodily and intellectual difference. In physical micro
form he experimented with setting borders and measuring distances
with the bodies of the performers. He played with the idea of how
a body creates a closed form and what is inside gets locked into
it. When he used the body parts to measure distances between different
bodies Gotheiner's choices were creative. He wasn't limited by just
hands. In one section a female and a male dancer were standing apart.
As she got closer to him, she used her neck as a measuring tool
of the distance between them. She kept replacing her neck on the
floor to the ending point of her last placement until she reached
him. In macro form the dancers explored evaluating distance in space.
Gotheiner verbally amplified
his physical comment on closed areas within a society when an Asian
performer recounted meeting a man who tried to insult her by repeatedly
taunting her with "ching-ching." Modes of communication like this
can also create closed areas, the choreographer seemed to be saying.
The reoccurring idea
of invasion and subjugation was introduced by Todd Allen and Jimmy
Everett putting their hands on Ying Ying Shiau's head and directing
her movements in place while her eyes were closed. The men's apparent
power over her was so strong that even when Shiau took few steps
away from them she could only stay by herself for a matter of seconds
before falling back into their hands. As she finally escaped their
control and was able to stand on her own, she opened her eyes. This
powerful imagery foreshadowed Gotheiner's conclusion.
The piece balanced individual
perspectives against collaged points of view, with Naoko Nagata's
costumes highlighting the individuality. Other sections, in which
all the dancers executed the same movement but with distinct personal
inflections, neatly mirrored New York City, the differences respected
Differences of another
sort were addressed when Allen and Hoisington took the stage adorned
like Greek and Egyptian sculptures. A third dancer explained the
differences between these forms before the two began a duet which
evoked the dramatic physicality of Rodin's sculptures.
Mark London's lighting
was subtle and strong, supporting the metaphors created in the piece
with linear and separated shapes reflected on the floor and the
backdrop. Dancers sometimes used these shapes as their borders.
Their spatial struggle with crossing and staying in and out of these
margins was also reflected in their individual movements.
Throughout the work,
pointed fingers became physical metaphors for finding the borders
between limits. As the fingers physically pointed at each other,
metaphorically they were pointing at different perspectives on personal,
cultural, sexual, religious and emotional territories. The piece
concluded with a dancer outlining the simplest territory of the
self inside the form of the body. She closed her eyes and pointed
at her own eyes with her pointed fingers.
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