Alexandance's first full length show, A Vertiable Smorgasbord, is a fascinating glimpse into worlds both funny and fierce. Presented by Triskelion Arts, choreographers Alex Springer and Xan Burley lay it all on the line in a jam-packed evening of short dances ranging from wittily astute to traumatically effective.
The gems of the evening are two duets between Burley and Springer themselves. The first, from 2009 entitled Spilt, is a clever window into a marital relationship laced with tension and high romance. It begins in a mini living room; Burley is in a flowered dress and white jacket, Springer holds her on his lap. In 50's era glasses, a sweater vest and a huge grin, he struggles to keep his hand over her mouth. When she finally breaks free, pearls come popping out like little white secrets.
Second, Springer and Burley dance Man + Woman, a duet which skips the trauma of relationships and focuses instead on the awkwardness of the first attraction and the satisfaction of the final moment. Beginning as running and off-timed flights through space, this dance ends in a totally satisfying kiss.
The darkest piece of the evening, Microfiche, is a no-holds-barred journey through depravity, isolation and trauma. Five dancers clad in night gowns and white socks dance around, under and through a blue tarp who's rasping, shifting movement serves as a metaphor for the (not so) hidden pain in all of us. This dance makes the audience feel just as uncomfortable as the writhing dancers through the use of incredibly loud and grating sound. The technique is successful, if pain and anger are what I am supposed to feel, but I can't help but be a tad offended after being made to sit with my hands over my ears for more than 10 minutes. The point is open for debate...
Whether it is amusement or empathy that we feel in the theater, one can't help but be excited by the promise of new dance makers like Alexandance in this often formidable city.
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