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Flash Review, 11-17:
A Little Something....
Putting Upper Manhattan on Dance's UMAP
By Maura Nguyen Donohue
Copyright 2000 Maura Nguyen Donohue
The only real disappointment
with last night's "Autumn Leaps" showcase presented by the new Upper
Manhattan Arts Project (UMAP) and hosted by Keren Shani and Terry
Hollis was the meager turnout. Don't take that as critical complaint
but rather as a rally for support. With an emphasis on cultivating
new works and emerging artists, UMAP is dedicated to providing performance
or presentation platforms in the upper Manhattan area. Executive
director Timothy Breese Miller says UMAP is tapping into neighborhood
(and city-wide) talent and venues, in an effort to foster a closer
connection between the arts community and the residential community
of upper Manhattan. It's definitely come through on the talent side.
Now if only my neighbors -- this assignment was a blissful 5-minute
walk -- had been there.
Despina Stamos and Wen-Shuan
Yang's "Cold Blooded Was the Bird" is well-executed absurdity. It's
also an effective use of props and costuming, with wooden cats making
their way across the front of the stage, once dragging a canary
and then revealing it eaten and sitting in its painted belly. A
cardboard picture of a pitcher pours water into a glass. Two formally
dressed ladies and a turkey carving, Toby Billowitz, set the backdrop
for athletic duets. I had never before consider the rooster's intense
neuroses until watching Stamos and Yang blast their way through
imitations in gesture and posture. Though both aspects were enjoyable,
the strong dancing seemed at times in competition with the theatrics.
Terry Hollis's piece
is like a long drink of water after a dry spell. Hollis sumptuously
shifts through his expansive limbs and sends me into one of my visceral
body twitching experiences watching him move. Writing as a mover
and not a writer, this is work I love to see because it makes me
want to get up and do the same thing. His physical riffs and timing
are as free-wheeling as the Duke Ellington he's dancing to.
Jon Zimmerman performs
"Mergers and Acquisitions" with Billowitz. The duet opens with the
promise of romance in a shower of red rose petals. We see the power
play develop as Zimmerman literally steps all over Billowitz, who
is a sturdy base in some precarious positions.
Dana Salisbury uses a
retractable tent pole, black wig and aluminum tray in her examination
of "Salom'e." Unfortunately, this was my second Salome of the season
(See Flash Review 2, 9-8: She's Nobody's Puppet)
and proved not as informed as the first. Kraig Patterson wrapped
up the evening with a short, sweet & sassy solo in a pink tutu.
"Margot" is an excellent character study in which Patterson perfectly
captures the abandon and preciousness of an overzealous bunhead.
The evening finished
off UMAP's inaugural series, "Hopscotch Thursdays." Every other
Thursday offered up music, poetry or play readings in the hall of
St. Michael's Church at 99th and Amsterdam. UMAP is planning a holiday
event for the week of December 12 in a different venue. If you're
interested in participating or getting involved with UMAP, contact
Miller at (212) 666-2398 or email ArtsProject@mac.com.
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