Sunday August 24th, 2014 - This was the only performance of the 'current sessions' of the CURRENT SESSIONS that I could attend. I dearly wanted to see Colby Damon's work but that will have to wait for another opportunity. Meanwhile, tonight's line-up had the range and flair we've come to expect from these unique dance programmes. A big round of applause for the SESSIONS' co-Artistic Directors Allison Jones (photo at the top) and Alexis Convento for making it happen yet again.
Housed in a comfortable, intimate venue The Wild Project down on the Lower East Side, the CURRENT SESSIONS bring together works by established and emerging choreographers in mix-and-match programming, getting dance and dancers seen in smoothly-produced and finely-lit (by Mike Inwood) repertory evenings.
This particular programme offered three fascinating works for solo female dancers, an entracing film based on the legend of Narcissus, an extended selfie of imaginative wit and energy, and ensemble pieces of visual variety, all served up by inspired and inspiring dancers.
Jenna Pollack, a hypnotic mover, opened the evening in Nicole van Arx's solo Wasserflut. Eerie and feral at first, Ms. Pollack expands thru the dance into a compelling presence; her backless black shirt reveals her expressive dorsal musculature. As the piece evolves, Jenna's shadow becomes an element of the choreography. Fleetingly glimpsed through a sonic haze are fragments of the Schubert song from which the solo draws its title.
Enza DePalma // E|N|Z|A offered some bloom in darkness; this work for four dancers employs white chairs outlined in flourescent light. In this abstracted domestic drama revolving around our sense of security in our accustomed living space, the chairs are re-arranged as the dance moves forward. A distorted version of the Barcarolle from CONTES D'HOFFMANN is danced in-sync by the two girls; then the boys dance to a heavy beat. As the dancers re-claim their seats, we expect another vignette but instead a sudden blackout leaves us pondering what we've just seen.
Jay Carlon's Dance Film Selfie showed this engaging dancer/choreographer in a variety of public settings (starting on an escalator at Sochi) all caught on his own camera. Charmingly mixed, the scene of Jay dancing to "The Man I Love" while waiting for a bus was especially poignant; later he's ticketed by the police: it's a misdemeanor to dance in Brooklyn? As the film ends, Jay appears live onstage, sets his camera in the corner, and records another selfie solo to add to his repertoire. When the soundtrack, for solo violin, starts skipping like a broken record, it's over. Jay's timely and wonderfully whimsical work was a direct hit with the Wild Project crowd. Check him out here.
Playback, a duet choreographed by Bryan Arias, was performed by Roya Carreras and Elise Ritzel to music played on an old cassette deck. Evoking both memory and expectation, the duet becomes intimate as the girls move to a collage of Mozart, a mostly incoherent spoken-word passage, and Max Reger. Bryan Arias' choreography brought out a dark side in his two beautiful dancers.
Above: Nico Archambault in the film Stagnant Pool
Stagnant Pool, a film by Kevin Calero co-choreographed by Wynn Holmes and Nico Archambault, transports us to a mythic land's end where - inspired by the legend of Narcissus - Mr. Archambault moves like a demi-god across the seascape from which rise other-worldly rock formations. Shards of a broken mirror allure the dancer to his own image as fantastical music of the spheres becomes transportive: the cumulative effect is breath-taking. And then the vision evaporates into a nightmarish coda.
Allison Jones presented the evening's second solo work, SUBCYCLE, in which she performed to a Sam Silver composition. Deep sonics anchor the work in which Allison, bathed at first in golden light, moves with an intense sense of plastique gesture, pausing briefly to rest on the floor before brighness floods the space and she revives: an absorbing and definitive performance.
Choreographer Kat Rhodes has tirned to Cormac McCarthy's novel The Crossing as inspiration for LOBO (Wolf), an excerpt of whch was shown tonight. A young girl in a homespun dress is roused from her sleep by three other women in prairie denim garb appear in this ritualistic and evocative work: the three women may variously represent men, or wolves. Music by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, as well as Mike Inwood's lighting, enhanced the committed work of the four dancers.
Andrea Murillo, a dancer I first saw work while she was working with the Martha Graham Dance Company, danced gorgeously in a Troy Ogilvie-choreographed solo Legacy Part One. The power and control of movement which Ms. Murillo developed while working at Graham were amply evident in her inspired peformance tonight. Spoken narrative and a kozmic big beat set the atmosphere as the radiant dancer held sway over the crowd, the lights coming up to a huge brightness as the solo progressed. Andrea's perfomance was a knockout: I can't wait to see Part Two!