Performing Struggle

Different Ways of Giving All You Have

They're not simply technical marvels. A quote from Rumi—the same one that inspired Laz Brezer's concert—graces their pamphlet: "Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground." Although each number on their swift-moving program (no pauses, no bows till the end) purports to be about a particular relationship, all are primarily about these people's relationship to dancing as a physically and spiritually enriching endeavor.

The choreography is not always up to thelevel of the dancing. Sherash by Mia Michaels begins strikingly, with the whole group pulsing and chanting together in a triangle of light. But the dance loses its power, even as it introduces us to these gorgeous creatures. Bill Hastings's Nabta Playa, with Roxas and Plantadit-Bageot dozing on derelict beach chairs while Thomas dances up a storm and finally galvanizes them, tells us little about these three as people or collaborators, but a lot about their chops. A much better trio—Secret Selves, from Zvi Gotheiner's Chair—features Rebecca Rigert and Parkinson in solo struggles on chairs, and Dwight Rhoden and Roger Bellamy in a chair duet. (It made me yearn to see this company tackle Anna Sokolow's Rooms.)

Curiously, the evening's predominant emotions are anger, struggle, pain, and sexual heat—expressed with knife-sharp clarity in Ulysses Dove's notable search-and-destroy Episodes. In Growth, a solo choreographed by Rhoden to music by Steve Reich, that rich performer Sarita Allen lashes her figurative tail in some fathomless rage to conquer that takes no breaks. Thomas's Shout Out has Zane Booker atop a tall platform, treading and rippling and gesturing as if his inner serpent were screaming to get out.

It's a relief to find a trace of humor in the hot-eyed prowling and grasping of Gary Pierce's tango foursome On the Ropes—at least as Richardson plays it—in addition to flashing legwork by him and Roxas, Antonio Scott, and Leonora Stapleton. There are 100 ways to hatch a dance troupe, and this is one of them—choosing choreography that showcases each wonderful dancer equally. Next, maybe, they'll think of more ways to define "wonderful."

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