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3, 9-13: Tripping the Hot Wire with Wendy Blum
Mouth-Gaping Dance Theater
Copyright 2000 Anne-Marie Mulgrew
-- I couldn't resist. Walking by Sunday, I heard the music by Doug
Henderson and was captivated by Wendy Blum's intense physicality
as she performed in an outdoor theater at 2nd Street & Elfreth's
Alley for 30 people. I became mesmerized by her eye contact, colorful
yellow thigh-high unitard and orange tunic costume -- and her sheer
bravura. Blum's movement vocabulary is extremely personal, athletic,
and abstract. I thought, What an incredible spine! as she performed
one-handed backbends to the floor while gesturing with the other
hand, rising into straddled handstands and slicing a leg through
to a low crouch, jump or roll. Blum has great facility as a performer.
She moves with ease making unusual shapes, uses lots of movement
dynamics and really knows how to build a phrase, creating quick
physical pictures. One mouth-gaping image was when she stood back
to the audience legs slightly apart, lowered her head between her
legs and started speaking: "My tongue slides down between my toes."
I wasn't sure and didn't really care what she was trying to communicate.
Blum made me glad that I was there watching.
Since it was
the last day of her run, Blum repeated her awesome 15-minute solo
as a videographer taped it. Watching the second time, I began to
notice more nuances and sensations such as delight, horror, fear,
disbelief and unexpected pleasure.
Also on Sunday,
I strolled down to the National Warehouse to check out "The Undress
Project," by Jessica Scofield. This piece got an early buzz in the
Philly Fringe. It features Scofield unraveling a red knitted dress
she's wearing and reknitting it. The process takes hours. I arrived
to see what looked like a 19th century model posing for a painter.
Scofield is bathed in warm light, seated on a hard chair in a small
intimate dark space raised on a platform. Her dark hair is tied
up in a loose bun. Her focus is peaceful. Legs crossed, eyes cast
on her knitting, she rises occasionally to unravel part of her dress,
exposing a little more leg. The color red adds zest to an otherwise
sparse scene. The small audience sits watching. I wonder how many
folks witnessed the entire transformation. Sunday's crowd was a
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