Christmas Candy

Treats Wholesome and Otherwise

There's more than a touch of irony in Leichter's pop-culture imagery and his preoccupation with arrested flow. The superheroes of Tightrope (Holly Handman, Lucia Horn, Amy Larimer, and Stephen Williams) mingle kisses with their punching and toppling; somewhere in the big, vital dancing of Anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance gets taken apart. Leichter's smart, and deploys his dancers with skill. The works do tend to maintain the same tone and degree of tension throughout; this may be a part of the drive that makes them look with it, but it also erodes their power.

San Francisco­based Wendy Rogers calls the 70-minute work she presented at Danspace "makeshift dancing." Anything but make-do, this ongoing piece recycles and varies ideas Rogers began to explore in 1991. The dancing seems to articulate subtle responses on the part of the performers to environments we never see and inner geographies we can only guess at. The movement grammar falls into neither the punchy nor the tumble-and-bounce modes of much postmodern dance. It can appear delicate or forthright, spiky or soft, jittery or calm, complicated or simple.

John Diaz, Allyson Green, Eric Lorico, John Medina, Jennifer Twilley, and Rogers function as a community, but there's a minimum of touching. In a duet, Rogers and Diaz's relationship is as much a matter of fleeting unison or attentiveness to complementary energies as it is of making physical contact. Although in one section the others pick Diaz up and put him down, most of their interactions as they jump and skid and dodge are like those of guards in a goal-less game.

Doomed lovers: Glenn A. Sims hoists Linda Cáceres in the new Lettres d'Amour.
Paul Kolnik
Doomed lovers: Glenn A. Sims hoists Linda Cáceres in the new Lettres d'Amour.

There's something refreshing about the clarity of the performing and the variety possible within certain limits. When Rogers, in a solo passage to Mahler, closes her eyes, so convincing is the illusion of a private, struggling journey that you accept the gesture without worrying about its place in a possible drama. You don't wonder why beautiful Green is so attentively reaching upward, or what the silent dialogues are about. Without telling stories, Rogers builds a quiet semblance of life.

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