This Valentine's day weekend at Joyce Soho, Jody Oberfelder delivers something old, something new, something borrowed, and nothing blue.
The "something old" is a piece called Moved, created in 2003, which makes up the first half of the program. From the first moment, the space is saturated with color, bright orange costumes, and bright faces. The five member company serves an amuse-bouche in the Jody Oberfelder flavor, which is lighthearted, acrobatics infused, modern dance. Her dancers spiral into and out of the floor, pass through handstands, and build human pyramids.
Jody enters for a solo in which we see the source of her style. She is a little body with a big personality. Her gymnast's body glides gracefully through head spins and press handstands, between which she injects niblets of humor.
The "borrowed" part is a semi-satirical Busby Berkley kaleidoscope of movement. The entire company, including Jody, whirls into symmetrical circles, and forms Vegas-style kick lines. Their over-exaggerated smiles criticize the cheesiness of Busby Berkley style productions, while they utilize his formula to create a visual feast. The piece culminates with the group moving in a circle, building speed until every other dancer's feet lift off the floor. They fly off into eternity as the lights fade.
Following intermission, there's "something new" with the premiere of Approaching Climax. A stool and a microphone stand stage-right where the company members take turns playing the "God" character. They speak into the mic facing a video camera, so that their image is projected as a giant head on the back wall, overlooking and commenting on the action onstage.
The commentary consists of clever statements and observations applying the dramatic structure, as in literature, to the dance. They joke about the viewer's frustration with abstract dance and their futile effort to follow a linear plot when there is none. The title is reflected throughout the piece with references to a dramatic climax, along with its secondary meaning through hints of sexuality. The human pyramids take on a kamasutra nature, and comically cliché sexy moves are hidden within the modern dance vocabulary.
Aside from a few more serious moments, there's "nothing blue" about this program. Jody Oberfelder proves that it's possible to be both fun and intelligent. It's feel-good dance which makes you feel good, and think a little too.
iDANZ Critix Corner
Official Dance Review by Julie Fotheringham
Performance: Jody Oberfelder Dance Projects, Moved, and Approaching Climax
Choreographer: Jody Oberfielder
Venue: Joyce Soho, New York City
Date: February 15, 2009
Click Here To Become a Member of iDANZ Today!
iDANZ - The Social Network Where Dancers Live!