Dance Companies Save Money
featured photo

Go back to Flash Reviews
Go Home

Flash Review, 6-12: Braiding Time
Carolyn Dorfman at High-Vantage Point

By Tom Patrick
Copyright 2000 Tom Patrick

Special! Video Clip: 1.5MB

My [relative] brevity in today's flash of Carolyn Dorfman's company is not due to a zealous editor or to sleep deprivation or worse, but a road test of "Flash Lean"... Also, this run has ended, so I'm ex post facto as well. So have a look at Dennis Diamond's vid!

I was looking forward Saturday to an overdue visit to Marymount Manhattan Theatre, a place chock-full of great seats for dance. 'Twas a boon, for Carolyn Dorfman's works were quite well displayed with a higher vantage point, showing the depth and patterning. This program is entitled Millenium Bridge, tracing the threads of time, braiding them. Thus lots of tricky maneuvering for the eight dancers, who had little opportunity for breath-catching. They were soon glistening.

The first piece of the concert, "Primal Axis," had a title/concept that often seemed too big or too small for the action. There were eloquent passages of movement, sure, but a bit ill-fitting. I had a hard time tolerating the music, meandering harpy stuff. Great visuals provided though, via Myron Wasserman's cool hanging sculpture; nifty costumes by Russell Aubrey.

Second-up was "Under My Skin," a duet danced by Craig Biersecker and Renee Jaworski, and it drew me in but left me cold. I lost interest in the subtext, ran out of empathy and curiosity. While it was full of meaty movement, I was again asking myself, "What already?" (One audio annoyance: were those whispers meant to be heard, or just there as tonal texture? Too close to the cusp, was just distracting.)

Leading off Act 2 was 1994's "Sextet." While the geometry was interesting, and it has an intricate construction, there was a certain barrier on rhythmic variation or something. While admiring the polish on it, I was getting frustrated with thing/pause/thing/run/thing/pause/etc. I missed the edge to it, in a multitude of moments frozen a second too long too often, well-earned momentum lost.

I wondered how these three dances might behave riding on different (or edited) musics....

In the end it was a family story that really engaged me: "The Klezmer Sketch" (a premiere) is a slice of life, and has a definite flavor. Taking inspiration from an obviously inspiring family, Ms. Dorfman has crafted a series of charming and poignant vignettes referencing her eastern Jewish heritage. Strong points-of-view here, and she is reputedly to expand it into a larger work ("My People"). I liked the dramatic relation to the music, and the dancing seemed to have more aim. Particularly enjoyed the "three sisters" trio of Emily Gayeski, Ms. Jaworski, and Katie Stevinson, and the charming masked duet "The Arrangement."

Consistently throughout the performance, polished dancing prevailed, and this octet makes these dances snap. They're crystal-clear whether melting into the floor, airborne, or manipulating each other. The fellas -- Mr. Biersecker, Noel MacDuffie, and Dante Pulielo -- were all smooth cats and strong too. On the ladies' side, I was especially endeared to performances given graciously and intelligently by Ms. Stevinson and Nancy Shevitz. They brought out the drama, left it alone, busted the moves, in all the right places. Fearless, tireless, the whole eight seem a tight ensemble, with a clear dedication to the work.

Also appearing in all four pieces were the lighting designs of John Evans, and costume designs by Russell Aubrey. Top-notch contributions, all the way.

So in closing, I guess I'd sum it up this way: I was impressed with the physicality, speed, and intricacy of Ms. Dorfman's work. The performance revealed a high degree of quality in costuming, scenery, and lighting, and the dancers were well-rehearsed and effusive, into-it. In terms of the four pieces I saw: the first three had me interrupting too often with silent questions (I'd like to see more variation in their locomotion, maybe? Is the point this? Or that? Would different music knit things together better?) As for "The Klezmer Sketch"...I liked that one a lot, and hope I get to see tomorrow's "My People" when Carolyn Dorfman continues that braid.

Go back to Flash Reviews
Go Home