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 1, 7-27: Megaprogrammed < Full Strength
Pilobolus Fails with Flying Colors
Copyright 2005 Darrah Carr
NEW YORK -- For its
annual summer season at New York's Joyce Theater, Pilobolus Dance
Theatre tried something new: the rotation of three distinct programs
based on a single theme. Depending on the night, audiences caught
"Megawatt > Full Strength" (the company's first evening-length work),
"Pilobolus: Aquatic," or "Pilobolus: Suspended." Judging from "Suspended,"
which this critic saw July 19, the fungi's foray into thematic programming
is a clever marketing ploy, a tightly rehearsed machine, and, unfortunately,
a terrible bore.
"Suspended," a program
whose name unimaginatively speaks for itself, features five aerial
works, all choreographed by one of the company's four artistic directors,
Alison Chase, in collaboration with the dancers on whom they were
created. (Ras Mikey C, Otis Cook, Rebecca Darling, Mark Fucik, Andrew
Herro, Renee Jaworski, Matt Kent, Gaspard Louis, Jennifer Macavinta,
Jenny Mendez, Manelich Minniefee, Benjamin Pring, and Matthew Thornton.)
By the fifth piece, my initial excitement at reviewing one of the
dance world's most popular companies, not to mention one of my personal
favorites, had dwindled to a restless impatience. For all of its
dancers' acrobatic skill and their incredible blend of strength
and flexibility, Pilobolus is not Cirque du Soleil. After one, two,
or even three pieces, I longed to see the performers abandon their
"circus silks" and jump, turn, fall, and... well, dance.
To be fair, each of
the works might have fared better had they been viewed on separate
evenings. The opener, "Star-Crossed," was a touching, gentle entanglement
of ropes and limbs, while "Bugonia," receiving its New York premiere
this season, was a playful, colorfully-lit mating duet. Nevertheless,
when presented in tandem, Chase's aerial works seemed too similar
to one another. I began to wonder if the directors of this storied
company are perhaps trapped by the popularity of their own design.
With four choreographers as leaders, whose history spans three decades,
audiences have grown accustomed to seeing Pilobolus programs that
offer a breadth of creative vision. A thematically linked program
is not necessary to carry or interpret their impressive joint repertory.
Pilobolus is immensely popular because the company's work is already
accessible, easy to understand, and waiting to be enjoyed.
In contrast to the aerial
works on this program (which were all created by Chase, with the
dancers' collaboration, during the last five years), "Walklyndon,"
a Pilobolus classic from 1971 choreographed by Robby Barnett, Lee
Harris, Moses Pendleton, and Jonathan Wolken, seemed startlingly
fresh and funny. Having nothing to do with flying, and everything
to do with walking, running, and playfully bumping into one another,
"Walklyndon" was added to the program July 19 apparently for the
cameo appearance by Joyce SoHo benefit auction winner Carolyn Forsman.
A nice gesture on the company's part and an important lesson in
return: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Go back to Flash Reviews