Heat Beat

Dancing 10, Weather 0

In an excerpt from the forthcoming Cock of the Walk, they begin with a high-energy unison trip back and forth across the stage, not unlike a complex form of strutting. Their steps are as crisp and bold as the pleated white skirts they both wear, and, as they dig new dynamic possibilities out of their themes, they reveal their com positional skills. Go Tell Him I'm a Mountain brings charm out of incongruity and beauty out of awkward ness. Basically it's a collection of eccentric episodes told through wonderful dancing. In the beginning, the longer Cornell and Gutierrez stand on their heads and ply their legs in patterns, the weirder, yet more comprehensible, the act seems. These are the kind of people who do this sort of thing. They push big, smooth, stabilizing moves up against Ian Christe's abrasive music. Gutierrez stands, his back to us, and with every twist of his head, offers up a new, carefully observed facial expression. They don tutus and advance on us, gesticulating and making faces. They plunge into a fast semi-Latin variation. She dances legato. It's all fresh, movement-rich, and—George Balanchine's highest compliment—interesting.

Spoofing sci-fi isn't a brand-new idea, but Pisarra and Allen's endearingly wacky wit and sophisticated per forming give it a sharp new look. In Futureworld, they dissect and re-glue all the tales the century has grown up on: out-of-control spaceships, robots on the rampage, the fellowship of outer space, and beam-me-up-Scotty ad ventures. Helmeted and swathed in aluminum foil and cling-wrap tunics, they're a cross between machines and '20s bathing beauties. They move in robotic little bounces and lurches, and Pisarra, clumsily adjusting imaginary wheels and switches, gives them both fearful electric shocks; Allen, sitting on the floor with her legs stuck straight out in front of her like a Martian Barbie, literally jerks into the air, her mouth opening in a silent yowl. These two are copeless in the cosmos. It's hard to swagger when you're jiggling, but they manage. In the course of the work, they lip-sync high-sounding pledges and dance to lugubrious music in new tunics—slithering their feet and fluttering a hand. That's the poetic part, I guess. They face off and zap each other at a distance until an outside force unites them in slow-mo dread; then, as a tiny, rickety spaceship flies in on a cord, they run and run forward, get ting nowhere, constantly pushed back. "Will she get her first mate, Marvin, to safety? "inquires a voice. Safety isn't an option here. Life, as these two survivors know it, is a saga of short circuits.

It just goes to show you. Very good art that's also entertaining can overcome underpowered air-conditioning without any trouble.

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