I wrote this some time ago, but only published it to Dance Enthusiast. In an effort to keep everything in one place, here it is too many months later. The more recent CURRENT SESSIONS review is in the following post.
THE CURRENT SESSIONS: Sunday July 15th, 7:30 pm
Andrea Miller, choreographer and Artistic Director of the well-known contemporary dance company Gallim Dance was in the audience during Sunday night’s The CURRENT SESSIONS. Even though Miller was most likely there to support dancers and co-workers who were featured throughout the night, it was not hard to imagine that some of the dancers were using this performance as an informal audition for Gallim, which has its first female audition in three years soon (dancers, go ahead and search on dancenyc now, just finish reading this when you’re done).
In line with Gallim’s penchant for the physically improbable, many dances presented in The CURRENT SESSIONS were comfortable playing with extremes. The use of the instep as a viable support for body weight. The thighs splayed wide in fourth position, teasing the floor with the crotch. This is pure Gallim. Or, Gallim reflects a contemporary dance scene that is rapidly turning the new into the normal. But in spite of a sometimes-similar movement vocabulary, The CURRENT SESSIONS’ Sunday night performance (one of three separate compilations of choreographers that weekend) at The Wild Project was a showcase of “today’s best emerging contemporary choreographers.” One could feel their deep desire to differentiate themselves from their peers through different, bold choices.
One Side of the Story opens the show with a pawing, licking grace. It is sensual like a sleek cat is sensual, stretching nonchalantly then darting across the floor. The five female dancers performing for Yin Yue Dance (including Yin Yue) are alternately cool, relaxed and then in a moment they are muscular and taut. This is the most choreographed piece of the night, with clean unison displaying well-rehearsed movement.
Although still well rehearsed, the other pieces rely more on the dancers to create a sense of union within the choreography. Circumstantial Amy, choreographed by Brendan Duggan, transitions between sections with undirected stumbling. The dancers have to navigate around one another in the moment. The stumbling (which sometimes progresses into tripping…oops) seems vague and somewhat arbitrary. When there is specific movement to work with – a bird-like flapping, a simple phrase— the dancers are finally able to respond to one another with intention.
Jonathan Royse Windham’s Two duets, some awkward moments, a long silence and a slow dance doesn’t even try to transition through the choreography: it stops the music and starts again. The playful structure of the piece, complete with hilarious, adolescent performances by decidedly mature performers, thrives when the eight dancers’ animated personalities react to external events according to their distinct characters. The overblown characters necessitate confident performers and Francesca Romo (with her silly side sneer) and the seven other dancers are satisfying to watch.
SHAPESHIFT, choreographed by Betheny Merola, uses two bodies as propellers. The dark-haired duo is a forceful instigator of coolly understated movement that often works its way towards a lift or roll. Mallory Rosenthal’s duet, As Our Buttons Are Cast in Bone needs less force and more space. The dance is a rippling extenuation of the two dancers’ first moment onstage and if it is the simplest piece, it is also the most kinesthetically conscious one in the show. Performers Emily Terndrup and TJ Spaur, with their slightly rounded, thinking bodies, are self-aware to the point of excluding all else. The best and often repeated moment is when Terndrup opens her arms and her collarbone finally seeks something above. Even though it lasts only for a second, it seems forever that she dangles, her weight seeping off of suspended bones.
The seconds of beauty last longer in The Wild Project’s intimate theater than they might have in a larger venue. For this group of emerging choreographers, close up is good. It lets you see the beauty of dance that often comes in the form of distorted extremes. But they are distortions that are enticing and interesting and to watch. The physical courage of the dancers makes it clear that beauty is brave and uncontrollable and sometimes a little bit dirty.
Also included in this performance: Discontinue: Part II choreographed by Sarah Mettin/ Mettin Movement Collective and Lonely Woman choreographed by Theodora Boguszewski.