First on the program is up and down by Makiko Tamura who also dances in the piece alongside Ryoji Sasamoto. The dance is inspired by a long distance relationship of two people with the world in between. One is on top, experiencing day, when the opposite is on bottom, experiencing night. The couple, each wearing one shoe, seem two halves of one whole. They stare out in the distance yearning to connect, and their movements influence the other, yet the distance remains apparent. The choreography is fun and quirky, with moments of touching intimacy conveyed through interesting partnering. Set among a landscape of discarded clothing, the dancers interact with different articles of clothing providing another layer to the work.
The Miner is choreographed by Eleanor Smith and contains no music. The dance is performed by Molly Lieber, who provides a sort of soundtrack with her breathing and dancing. This dance could be dissected into various parts that present different activities including (but not limited to anything) swimming, leaping like a frog, sprinting a ten foot distance, and playing the piano. Amazingly, the solo dancer is able to hold the audience captive as she explores the space and time she is given. Though the choreography is set, she seems to be improvising, often unaware of others watching, often turning her back. Perhaps this voyeuristic perspective adds excitement to the audience’s experience of the work. “The Miner” is an artistic experimentation of movement that is honest and inspiring.
We are Weather choreographed by Vanessa Anspaugh and her dancers seems to present the difficulties faced in a triangulated relationship. The dancers Aretha Aoki, Lily Gold and Mary Read all have powerful stage presences that are cool and calm though some moments in the dance are quite dramatic. With natural pedestrian movement the piece is nonetheless well-crafted and intentional.
Good Girl is a solo performance by dancer and choreographer Liz Santoro, performing with a projection of herself. Provocative and entertaining, the dance confronts our expectations of what we consider a “Good Girl.” Liz Santoro keeps the choreography simple, including a simple first arabesque- what better way to convey innocent intentions? I say, dare to put yourself out there, Good Girl!
Naughty Bits is a work by Jen McGinn and gathered inspiration from the Chronicles of Narnia. Dancers are adorned with animal elements: a furry paw, feathers sprouting from an arm, horns upon a forehead. One dancer toots a horn signaling the dance to begin. The dancers form a mass of morphing faces, expressions evolving from happy to sad to relief. One dancer is set apart; she takes off her bottom garments and dances in a clergy shirt and collar. Is this a statement about the “Naughty Bits” of society? After seeing this work, that is something you will have to decide for yourself!
The evening performance concludes with Heart Ain’t In It: Four-Chamber Studies. Though this work doesn’t seem to contain much dancing, the choreography by Enrico D. Wey presents an interesting paradox of the easily replaceable dancer. Live music is performed, then mimicked by another cast who takes the final bow.
An awesome part of Dance Theater Workshops’ Fresh Tracks series is its post-performance wine and discussion with the artists. It is especially interesting for the audience to interact with the artists of such abstract works and amusing that many of the artists express ambiguity in their responses encouraging each member of the audience to discover how the dances reverberate within themselves.
iDANZ Critix Corner
Official Dance Review by Lea McGowan
Performance: Fresh Tracks 2010
Choreography: Makiko Tamura, Eleanor Smith, Vanessa Anspaugh, Liz Santoro, Jen McGinn, Enrico D. Wey
Venue: Dance Theater Workshop, New York City
Performance Date: February 11, 2010
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