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Flash Review 2, 10-9: Seeds, Needs, and Royal Madness
Split Decision at DTW's Splitstream

By Vanessa Paige-Swanson
Copyright 2000 Vanessa Paige-Swanson

Hope Clark is fierce. Like a sharply focused light, she pulls music out of her internal organs, organically coordinating sound and movement. The effect, as witnessed at Dance Theater Workshop on Saturday, is intimate and shockingly visceral.

In her opening solo, "Raw," Ms. Clark explores the links between femininity and creativity, playing on words like womb, see, say, and having a baby. "Seeds" is a duet with veteran artist Edith Stephen, an intense performer with whom Ms. Clark shares an immediate chemistry. In "Need," Ms. Clark is joined by Nam Holtz and Megan Brunsvold to create complex vocal harmonies within a demanding physical structure. Each piece is accompanied by live video feed performed by Audrey Kindred, enhancing the choreography with layered images of the performers projected on the back wall.

Ms. Clark's choreographic vocabulary is simultaneously athletic and organic. Even the most acrobatic elements are never showy; rather, they appear to be a natural extension of the exploration of sound and movement. The density of the work is suffused with moments of humanity and humor, with clever wordplay as an added bonus.

Yasuko Yokoshi and Gonnie Heggen opened the performance, part of DTW's Splitstream series, with "Royal Madness," an improvised fantasy of monarchy juxtaposed with the baser human desires. The movement is a clever translation of European and Asian court dances, and provides a frame for the crackling dialogue. Yokoshi and Heggen work brilliantly together in improvisational partnership, but the concept falls short of sustaining an entire piece.

The Splitstream program repeats this Thursday and Friday, at 8 p.m. For more info, please visit the Dance Theater Workshop web site.

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