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Flash Review, 6-19: A
Weekend Following Anton
....In Kookie Goshen and Storytelling Wells
By Chris Dohse
Copyright 2000 Chris Dohse
At one point in Martita
Goshen's "Threshold," her voice on a taped recording asked, "Can
you hear my skin?" I'm not sure my ears are that sensitive, but
I would smile to be a pebble in her shoe. What a lovable kook Goshen
is -- to brave comparison to Isadora on a hilltop near Athens, to
squish through the muds of Ireland. Films of her site-specific creations
in those places were projected behind her company Earthworks's one-night-only
performance at the Kaye Playhouse Friday. Goshen's singular vision
of the primordial connection between human bodies and the ancient
Earth arose like a mirage of voluptuous dancing: Two communities
-- one filmed, one live -- listening to each others' intricacies
and elemental energies.
An initial trio - Goshen,
Anton Wilson (more on him later) and Rachel Berman -- caressed the
floor in organic heaps, waving their arms like stones happy to greet
the stream of light Aaron Cope washed over them. Berman dripped
and swam though mucilaginous space as others watched. Divine Gorecki
floated in and out of the soundscore as two dancers on the screen
flirted with a cloud mass. The dancing contained an embarrassment
of riches and the dancers looked like people inspired, people without
bones a lot of the time. People nestled into pockets of air. Isadora's
presence was inescapable, especially in the herbacious garlands
of Greece, but Dalcroze and von Laban were there too, in Goshen's
vocabulary of contemplative acuity. The two landscapes became vastly
real, vistas of air, water and earth filled with dancers moving
together like fish do.
Saturday night at the
Gene Frankel Theater, Anton Wilson wrapped himself around an entirely
different style in Lynne Wells's "Beneath the Surface." Wells's
two-act montage presented the interior lives of a collection of
New York City types, who came forward to reveal themselves in soliloquies
variously spoken, danced and sung. I must confess I've begun to
distrust storytelling in dances, especially when it's heartfelt.
However, Wells acknowledged the limitations of that very quality
in a way that dispelled reservations. In a section called "Bad News,"
she worried that she's too "honest" but not "vivid" enough to achieve
a theatrical career. Belying her doubts, the personalities she created
were entirely vivid, and their veracity was their strength. Abetted
by William Norman's songs and an additional dance by Leda Meredith,
Wells conquered a multi-talented theatrical hyphenate with forthright
Midwestern ingenuity: writer-choreographer-director-performer-producer.
In "To Day," Wilson began
by introducing an alphabet of gestures that were a bit too literal
and too tied to his script, but were later smartly manipulated by
Wells into group patterns, skillfully reiterated. Her dance vocabulary
often ranged into high-end phrases -- jetes, pirouettes, arabesques,
battements -- that threatened to escape the confines of the stage.
Her jazz idiom didn't always suit the characterizations portrayed
in her text. A solo for Valeria Solomonoff best employed movement
as an extension of character.
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