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Flash Review, 6-12:
Carolyn Dorfman at High-Vantage Point
By Tom Patrick
Copyright 2000 Tom Patrick
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
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."
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.
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