Birds and Kangaroos

Festival Fare From Down Under and Across the Pond

We're also in the midst of a British festival, UKwithNY, with Wendy Houstoun at P.S.122 last week, and Wayne McGregor's Random Dance at Danspace and Akram Kahn at the Kitchen this week. The lanky, boneless McGregor was the subject of Physical Dysfunction, a BBC documentary shown on a program of British dance films presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Dance Films Association. Houstoun conceived Touch, a looping, roiling sea of barroom bodies, with filmmaker David Hinton.

Hinton is a startlingly sensual and kinetically aware artist. His deliciously imaginative nine-minute Birds repeats cuts of avian action, so that flocks thicken the sky in escalating waves or a little orange bird plops down, rhythmic punctuation to a furious squabble on a branch above. Yet this trickery and a discreet score never betray the dignity of his subject.

From Australia to Newark to BAM: Bangarra’s Elma Kris and Frances Rings in Corroboree
photo: Michael Rayner
From Australia to Newark to BAM: Bangarra’s Elma Kris and Frances Rings in Corroboree

Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men (1990) invades and reshapes Lloyd Newson's deeply disturbing dance of the same name, rendering its graphic come-ons, cruel obsessions, violence, and futile tenderness even more terrifyingly bleak. Hinton's painterly shadings of black and white confine and stroke the bodies of four men (Newson, Nigel Charnock, Russell Maliphant, and Douglas Wright), closing in on a hand mashing a face, a cheek nestling into a shoulder, and drawing back to show the perspective of a man about to plunge from a ladder toward another below.

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