Thursday April 8, 2010 - From week to week I receive far more invitations to attend dance and musical performances than I can possibly accept. My calendar is always pretty full but every once in a while there's an opening and so it was tonight when I was able to pop back down to Joyce SoHo (where I've been pleasantly spending a lot of time lately) to see Ashley Friend's Contemporary Dance Core performing two works, the solo Honey Flat and the group piece I Hate John.
I was intrigued by the title I Hate John which I found to be something between a play with a little dancing and a dance with a little theatre. Five dancers - very different and distinct physical types - move about the space, sometimes emitting sounds or talking to themselves. This collective of four women and a lone man manifest their individual insecurities and their sense of territory; eventually the man is marginalized and dismissed. Having spent my high school years as an outsider the piece was a reminder of that unhappy time. The ensemble of dancers aside from Ms. Friend were Shenelle Eaton Foster, Talya Epstein, Lydia Love and Michael Freeman.
Honey Flat was inspired by Ms. Friend’s travels across the United States; she spent nine months observing people and places along the way. This solo, an interior monologue expressed in speech and movement, was intensely personal and showed us both the dancer's strength and her vulnerability, seeming by turns calculating and naive.