featured photo

Go back to Flash Reviews
Go Home

Flash Review, 4-5: Horsin' Around
Straight From the Dancer's Mouth

By Chris Dohse
Copyright 2000 Chris Dohse

"The Horse's Mouth Greets the New Millennium," conceived and directed by Tina Croll and James Cunningham, is part oral history project and part improvisatory performance. Approximately 30 participants will appear in each of six programs in its current run at the Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church. Many of Tuesday night's cast have reached a certain age where they can look back on careers rich with memories of the people and events that designed modern and postmodern dance's histories. These are the talents that have taught us, inspired us, awed us.

A simple structure allows each performer to relate a story of their choosing before offering movement phrases and fragments, performed alone and with others, sometimes flavored by instructions written on slips of paper placed at stations in the space. This aleatoric framework creates a kind of dancers' heaven, an afterworld full of here-and-now, warm anecdotes, theatrical bon mots and a mixture of movement invention from Kathakali to tap.

Twice during the piece, a maraca rattles to announce a line of dancers in showy attire, crossing the space on a diagonal of light. The line-up juxtaposes the straightforward reminiscence with an energy from the footlights that enriches the intimacy and vulnerability of the improvised material.

Moments that linger from Tuesday night include a naughty story told by James Cunningham, a memory of rehearsing "West Side Story" with Jerome Robbins told by Carol Lawrence, Elizabeth Zimmer rolling down the diagonal emitting feathers from a down coat, Linda Tarnay's sung hymn, Stuart Hodes in a top hat. The humility of each of these multiply lionized artists validates the unsung, unglamorous working dancers' life.

(Editor's Note: To find out who's performing on which nights of Horse's Mouth, click here)

Go back to Flash Reviews
Go Home