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By Albert Lee
Copyright 1999 Albert Lee
On Thursday, P.S. 122
presented an evening of "New Stuff." The stuff was kind of interesting.
Too bad most of the dance wasn't.
"Sweet Moment That Was" and Trajal Harrell's "RaRaRaRa: Reich Remixed
(Lullaby #2)" toyed with theatrical conventions, and concerned themselves
more with abstract evocations of pensive moods than with interesting
In "Sweet Moment That
Was," Martorell, Karen Sherman, and Awilda Sterling (refugees from
the Lilith Fair?) inhabit different physical and emotional spaces
on stage. They occasionally connect, but mostly stay seated in or
standing near a chair, interspersing soft movement with daydreaming
aloud about girls and love and "Go Fish," the cult lesbian movie.
Atmospheric violin plucking and playing was by Christopher Curtis.
Trajal Harrell's "RaRaRaRa:
Reich Remixed (Lullaby #2)" was a remix not only of music but of
dance. Harrell, Chrissy Chu, Robert Hayden and Anne Pinomacki took
turns dashing over to the two CD players (hooked to tinny speakers)
on stage, changing the tracks of electronic music and performing
different permutations of the same dance. Imagine a kind of visual
Steve Reich performance: repetitive and rhythmic stepping patterns
with an occasional upraised arm. It's purely repetitive; there's
no evolution within the patterns. When someone plays the gamelan,
for instance, there's a life in the rhythms; it's more than just
hitting the repeat button. And if you're going to repeat a dance
sequence, it better be interesting. It was a fun concept that didn't
Sam Kim's "Up Against
the Wall" was a strange evolution of a romance between Kim and Carolyn
Hall. To the dreamy pop of Stereolab the two leaned against a pink
Plexiglas wall, smiling and utterly in love. Ever so slowly they
move cheeks past each other pantomiming a kiss, and crawl over each
other and around, intertwining limbs and necks. But it ends with
their moving away from the wall and entering a darker terrain, grappling
with each other with an ambiguously unfocused violence and shaking
with seizure-like intensity.
Jeremy Wade and Nora
Heilmann were like ravers entering a robot-like dream in "Up Three
Days," a title that suggests an insomniac marathon dance party.
Their movements began with a raver's fluid limbs and playful imagination,
and evolved into a paranoid pop-lock, replete with the dancers'
own sound effects.
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