The Feistiness of Form

Pearl jam: Beth Simons (left) and Kriota Willberg in I, Rasputin
photo: Dona Ann McAdams
Pearl jam: Beth Simons (left) and Kriota Willberg in I, Rasputin

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I, Rasputin
P.S. 122
Through June 11

John Jasperse Company
The Kitchen

Mimi Garrard
The Kitchen
Through June 11

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A visually stunning early work, Phosphones, shows the influence of Alwin Nikolais (Garrard danced in his company and Murray Louis's), but its seductive effects result from technical innovations created in 1970 by Garrard, James Seawright, and Emmanuel Ghent. Ghent's music and lighting design are computer-coordinated. A figure undulates in flickers of blue light; women form a silhouetted chain against an emerald green sky. At the climax, each woman dances in a colored beam of light—eight women, eight colors. Hues and performers flash in and out of the landscape. Phosphones, with little emphasis on dancing per se, has more kinetic and rhythmic vigor than Garrard's 1999 Joplin Suite, in which the smooth moves and the games with hats are bright, but almost all the movement is slow, even constricted. The recorded pianist's fingers fibrillate the keys. When tall beauties Bulman and Dudley dance, it's as if they're sitting on the porch while a river rushes by.

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