The stage was transformed with an all white set, transforming the space into what looked like a room with white walls and floors. A swinging door on stage left was the entry point for 5 male dancers as they walked out onto stage and took their positions. What came next was fire, fire, fire!!!. Eliot Feld’s Mandance project featured five dancers from HORSE, an all male collaborative from Taiwan. The entire evening was the U.S. premiere of a piece called Bones where a new dance vocabulary was created right in front of my eyes.
The dancers wore simple costumes, only loose fitting shirts, pants and sometimes shirts. The movement was entirely unique…listen when I say this to you people… ENTIRELY UNIQUE.
This performance defined what it means to be a choreographer as the movement for HORSE was entirely Feld’s own. Only one time in the entire show did I recognize a step from an already developed contemporary technique, and it was a version of a pitch turn. No classroom choreography here!
The soundtrack was composed of different sounds that included everyday sounds to ritual music to the sound of the wind. The movement was percussive and edgy and extremely athletic. The dancers isolations of specific body parts triggered other body parts to move which created an internal play of action and reaction within the dancers bodies.
The partnering was crazy as the dancers held each other on their shoulders and intertwined in every which way imaginable. The piece was very accurately entitled as the movement brought about a new definition of the many capabilities of the human body. It was like an anatomy lesson on stage. As you looked at the dancers you could see each isolated part of the body and the many ways it could move. I was thinking to myself, “ that is what a dancer’s job is; to have mastered control over the instrument.” I want to move like that!. Every little move, step, and look was intentional down to the small isolations of the toes.
HORSE played with the game of “stop and start” and mastered breathtaking choreography with minimal unison work. And just when you thought that the choreography was rigid, the dancers would display fluidity and grace in the next steps while seeming to tell a story of the necessary connectedness between people -much like how the bones of the body work together to make the body move.
They started as a group, followed by a few mind-boggling solos, duets, and trios, and ended the evening out strong all together in a group section. I couldn’t take my eyes away and was mesmerized; and while there was no intermission, it was one long masterpiece of complexity and brilliance. I would say that every dancer, no matter the genre, needs to check out this project, and any athlete for that matter, for a definition of what it truly means to be on your A game!
IDANZ Critix Corner
Official Dance Review by JoiLynn
Performance: Eliot Feld’s Mandance Project Featuring HORSE
Choreographer: Eliot Feld
Venue: The Joyce Theater, New York City, NY
Date: Wednesday , April 1st, 2009
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