Above: Breton Tyner-Bryan, photographed by Steven Trumon Gray
Sunday evening March 9th, 2014 - At The Wild Project this evening, Current Sessions co-Artistic Directors Alexis Convento and Allison Jones bade us welcome to an evening of dance that began on a very high note and maintained the level throughout the program.
Grace Courvoisier's imaginative solo On the Heights of Despair set the tone for the evening with a stunning performance in which this demi-goddess of a dancer revealed a range of emotional states veering from insecurity to ecstacy. Her buttoned-up apparel - a long-sleeved blouse and long black skirt - seemed to indicate a woman unsure of herself physically, yet soon she let her hair down and turned into a provocative siren; her movement shifted from expansive to halting in the twinkling of an eye. As the music evolved from Chopin to an 80s pop tune, Ms. Courvoisier drew a girl from the audience and held her in a prolonged embrace; the dancer then began to weep. But when the strains of a broke-down version of the Blue Danube Waltz commenced, Ms. Courvoisier became giddy. In a big waltz with her own shadow, the dancer becomes sexually overwrought before finally pulling herself together. This fantastic portrait of a woman on the verge held the audience in captivating silence: the evening was off to a great start.
TRAPPING is a mixed-media piece choreographed by Vanessa Tamburi to a musical montage she created with composer Sebastien Sanza de Satamaria. Visual aritst Andrea Bianconi's fast-flickering video shoots single words and quirky illustrations upon the wall as the two dancers - Giorgia Bovo and Nile Baker - enter in sleek-reveal costumes and black ski-hoods. Removing these hoods, the dancers fill the space in a ballet-based pas de deux; to the edgy sounds of a clicking typewriter they dance on as their shadows loom and the film continues to nudge our thoughts in myriad directions from the verbal and visual cues. Replacing their hoods, the two slender dancers collapse as the light fades.
Choreographer Kate Ladenheim found the perfect interpreter for her solo Laurelai Emerges in the enigmatically beautiful Shay Bares. This solo, drawn from a larger work and performed to music by Peter van Zandt, was inspired by transgendered Internet activist Laurelai Bailey. The dancer's shadow creates an oddly vampiric element as Shay, with electrified hair and blackened eyes, lures us into his intense self-exploration: he is a dancer who knows how to reveal and conceal in perfect measure.
mor shani / paul sixta presented a film, LOVE-ISM, in which one-on-one human intimacy is explored as couple after couple appear on screen, kissing and embracing. The players - multi-generational, and crossing lines of gender and race - are vividly real and they appear in unvarnished states, without make-up or air-brushing. Some of the pairings evoke the darker side of human relationships; nudity is introduced but it is oddly sterile. The film was both joyous and somehow unsettling.
A massive Apple computer screen in the backdrop for human, next, a piece by James Moreno and Benjamin Rosenthal. The screen is so eye-filling and the images so rapid-fire that it takes considerable concentration to focus on the actual dancers. The four girls - Kelly Casper, Natali Diaz Yepes, Sarah O'Keeffe and Lydia Snell - are clad in white; they perform stylized combinations, sometimes pausing to observe one another from the sidelines. Only near the end does a touch of humanity emerge: a bit of aggression among the girls manifests itself.
Above: Tom Tsai photographed by Sylvia G
How could anyone ever be mean to Tom Tsai? This handsome and polite young man modestly removed his sneakers and socks before commencing his solo MEAN in which he maintains a running spoken narrative - first detailing the many meanings of "mean" and then describing a romantic break-up which clearly devastated him - whilst in the meantime performing a fantastical break-dance solo. As the physicality of the dance moves make him breathless, the tale becomes more urgent. The audience went wild for Tom at the end, but the dancer - having bared his soul, and his tantalizing abs - vanished after only the briefest of bows.
Breton Tyner-Bryan & Catherine Correa closed the evening with UN TANGUITO CUALQUIERA, a domestic vignette in which long-time lovers find themselves alone together on yet another endless evening. Both their tenderness and their irritation with one another are manifested against a tango-laced score; their duet is caressive and explosive by turns. A Hollywood silver-screen touch of visual glamour brings another element into play. The women at last prepare to venture out, donning jewelry and coats and walking into the sunset in silence. This seems preferable to another stultifying night at home in each other's company. Breton and Catherine invested this mixture of cinema and reality with a vivid clarity of expression and movement. A very powerful end to the program.