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Review 1, 10-12: Chaos Theory, Almost
Calibrated Kinetics from Jordan Fuchs & Co.
Copyright 2005 Gus Solomons jr
NEW YORK -- Jordan Fuchs
creates dances by experimenting with improvisational structures.
His new work, "The Almost and the Nearly," presented by Danspace
Project at St. Mark's Church this past weekend, conveys the intelligence
of its meticulous evolution. And the individual movement contributions
of Fuchs's smart, skillful dancers, Toby Billowitz, Megan Boyd,
Jennifer Dignan, and Storme Sundberg, add kinetic interest to what
might otherwise be merely a reductive exercise in compositional
Seated in two arcs that
border the spacious dance floor of the sanctuary, the audience is
intimately close to the performers. The dancers stand in a line
along the axis, bathed in Kathy Kaufmann's extraordinarily sculptural
lighting. They begin with small gestures -- lifting a heel, extending
an arm, tilting a torso -- then do individual, larger phrases of
relaxed, swinging motion. Suddenly, three dancers exit, leaving
Fuchs and Boyd at opposite ends of the space to quietly explore
mutual awareness. Andy Russ's richly minimal sound score changes
abruptly from delicate piano motifs to raucous pounding.
Over the course of 45
minutes, Fuchs arranges a continuous stream of solos and various
groupings, featuring often inventive physical connections in a balance
of dynamic moods from contemplative to vehement. Episodes are brief
and sometimes feel unresolved, but they are consistently indicative
of a strong vision about the expressive possibilities of unadorned,
carefully calibrated human action.
Simultaneous solos by
Sundberg and Dignan share movement material, but each dancer brings
her distinct interpretation to it: they spin backwards with the
extended leg rounded, scoop the free leg into an arabesque, then
leap forward. That phrase recurs repeatedly throughout the piece,
done by all: a kinetic reference point. Boyd and Sundberg take turns
supporting each other's weight in a series of seamless mutual lifts;
in a trio, they explore the negative spaces around Billowitz's sturdy
body -- an unlikely looking dancer with shaved head, pinched brow,
and tight, muscular physique.
The level of physical
exertion and riskiness escalate, as the dance reaches its climax.
Then, it ends quietly with Boyd and Sundberg balancing their prone
bodies atop those of Billowitz and Fuchs, who roll slowly on the
floor opposite each other; Dignan, like a sprite, flitters freely
in the space between them. Fuchs and his dedicated cast are so comfortable
in the movement that it often looks casual, even accidental -- sometimes
to a fault, as the postural slouching and deadpan focus can sap
the urgency of performance -- but the physical invention and deftly
controlled dynamic contrasts keep surprising us.
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