Spring Vintage

Classics, New Wine, and Homemade Brew

Leave coat and bag in kitchen. Proceed to small studio. No wonder there's a limit on audience size. Twenty-one of us hang out by the walls. A good thing. Michelle Boulé, crisscrossing the space, tosses her legs interestingly close. Revise thinking; that wasn't close, this is: She, Anna Azrieli, Abby Crain, and Tarek Halaby define the perimeter, leaning between us—on us—to touch base with the walls. Looking down from a high interior window: composer Jaime Fennelly. His the subtle layers of tickings, buzzings, and electronic havoc. Question: Which duct tape is real repair and which Fritz Welch's design?

A whisper in my ear: "Stand around the dancer in red." Now I have a bird's-eye view of Halaby, supine, rearranging his limbs. I get it: We see them; they try not to see us. Proximity breeds distance. The legendary fourth wall may career around, but it holds. Even when these inhabitants lie against our ankles and nudge us toward a new viewing place.

Some of the finely planned, low-to-the-ground dancing is gently matter-of-fact, in excellent two-part counterpoint even; some, in a different context, would call for straitjackets or firm hugs. I admire Crain's bravery; during a solo against a wall, she sticks her fingers into a mousehole and leans sideways by grabbing its edge. Even bolder: Azrieli and Boulé, grappling in close embraces, put their fingers in each other's ears, mouths, and nostrils. And pull. (Thoughtful Fennelly has passed them down a bowl of water: a pas de deux you have to soap up for.) Good for Gutierrez.

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