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Flash Review 2, 4-25: Windows Into the Humane
CIE. 2 in 1 with NYC 3 at DTW

By Chris Dohse
Copyright 2000 Chris Dohse

CIE. 2 in 1 is a company of two, Hungarian Akos Hargitai and Austrian Michaela Pein. They previously showed a duet, "Garlic Kiss," in Dance Theater Workshop's 1998 eastern European showcase "East of Eden." While in New York, they initiated collaborative projects with three U.S. choreographers -- Alan Good, Joanna Mendl Shaw and Vicky Shick. Three separate residencies in Budapest culminated in an evening of four duets (the fourth created by CIE. 2 in 1 themselves) shown at DTW last night (and repeating May 1).

Hargitai is compact, Pein petite. She is pumpkin-haired, and often pauses in her dancing to fix the audience in an impassive, mannequin-like gaze. If his house is built of brick, hers is made of wind. The American choreographers have crafted material that takes a backseat to the couple's personalities, their way of knowing each other, their sometimes mysterious intimacy.

Shick's "napok es evek (days and years)" makes a circus of everyday objects, postures and attitudes. The piece formats the lack of artifice that is both performers' strength and takes its time to unfold, without the schtick-packed gimmickry prevalent in much of downtown dance. Hargitai's translucent shirt and Pein's lamé skirt suggest faded gladrags; a vocabulary of fragmented, pedestrian non-sequiturs returns them again and again to the workaday.

The partnering and circular travelling in Mendl Shaw's "Possession" reveal her interest in ice dancing. Pein begins as a bird-insect-arachnid in the hub or her nest while Hargitai orbits her periphery. What might be the spasms of a mating scrimmage ensue, and he is much the worse for the effort, left to convulse among their debris.

The rejection of Aristotelian logic and inattention to the proscenium's fourth wall of Alan Good's "The Extra Normal Dog" can only be called Cunninghamesque. Good's movement is his own, though, culled equally from the quotidian and the quirky. A soundscore (Max Nagl Quartet, Blindman's Kwartet), filtered through an effect that projects it just on the edge of hearing, stretches patience, but emphasizes a certain outside-of-time quality to Pein and Hargitai's repetitive misconnections.

In "Tango of a Faune," the duet made by CIE. 2 in 1, their actorly presence recedes, while their dancing selves loosen up. He bounces and flops her like a little doll at first, before she returns the favor with a typical inscrutability that might harbor glee, to Astor Piazzolla. Just as the piece seems about to shift into a hotter, funnier gear, it's over. (Perhaps only a fragment?)

As is indicated on the postcard advertising this performance, these duets share an interest in "the human being behind the performer." All four choreographers have found skills within themselves and each other that transcend cultural and geographic borders to open windows into the humane.

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