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Flash Review, 4-16: Haunted
Ghosts & Gods from Fuchs & Gonzales

By Tom Patrick
Copyright 2000 Tom Patrick

Friday night Jordan Fuchs and Lisa Gonzales presented "Ghosts, Gods, and Other Absurdities" to a packed house at University Settlement. The space (new to me) is a large clean expanse of a room with a huge white wall upstage, not unlike the Joyce Soho, but with more headroom I think.... A good place to see dance, for our future reference.... My program held that we were to see two premieres--one each by Ms. Gonzales and Mr. Fuchs--bookending two earlier works by Lisa Gonzales. Both had been University Fellows at Ohio State University (home of a strong dance program) and had collaborated extensively before. This weekend they shared a concert of their individual works.

Opening the evening, when we were finally all settled, was Ms. Gonzales's premiere: "Her Dream. His waiting for her to arrive." A delicate duet of candor, choreo-credit was shared in this case with partner Paul Matteson. As the piece begins we see and hear Mr. Matteson "practicing" his imminent break-up with a lover before her (Ms. Gonzales's) arrival--he stammers a little, hesitates; he tries to be kind and yet resolute. The situation is loaded from the word GO, and Ms. G's feeling her own apprehensions, revealed in a dream. This edginess puts the pair at-odds immediately, and I thought it was a very fertile dramatic point that might strike a chord with folks anywhere. It led to their risky partnering having a tone of bittersweet grasping and grappling, as the subtext in their words hung in the air with the lovely Mozart adagio from Sonata in E-flat Major, K.481. The togetherness of both performers bridged over a couple of rough instances in the partnering, and I thought they seemed true to the situation they'd embarked on. Well done!

Jordan Fuchs and four dancers (alphabetically: Toby Billowitz, Jennifer Dignan, Carolyn Hall, and Storme Sundberg) premiered his(/their) "Confluence" in this concert, and it was at this point where I felt the circulation return to my legs, and felt the tapping and jiggling of my toes really begin. To the driving music of dynamo-jazz-pianist Bill Evans, this quintet launches into the light (lighting very resourcefully done all evening by Severn Clay) and heats up the floor. I was curious how they would "...side-step irony and...journey through classical realms of beauty, tragedy, and celebration," as the program hinted...and damned if they didn't do that and more. It was a treat to see that wonderful accel/deceleration common to jazz, sports, and frisky cars. There were lots of neat blindside lifts and vaults, loads of lush and articulate dancing, and it was maybe the first time I've ever seen a drum solo well danced. It was terrific stuff, and when I left I was walking on air. The only shame: I wondered who had done the costumes...?(Kudos to ya!)

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