Cables conveyed aerialists seated on window-washer platforms up the front of the terminal. As they scaled the heights, they executed abstracted work tasks, adjusting and repairing machinery. Their actions were amplified by a live video feed projected onto the building, making us aware of the delicate balance required to perform their duties. Less deft adaptations of work reduced the six performers to miming activities like shoveling, pitching, and lifting.

Woven into Haigood's exploration were portraits of Red Hook's human history. A film collage of passenger ships, trains, and the Statue of Liberty highlighted the waves of immigration to the area. Current residents discussed their affection for their "small town," and concerns about encroaching gentrification in filmed interviews projected onto the building. Haigood brought us full circle, from transport, processing, and shipping to shots of the grain's origin in the flat plains of the Midwest, surrounding the dancers as they ran, twisted, and flipped, playing in endless fields. —Shanti Crawford

Up the wall: Paul Benney in Red Hook
photo: Ellen Crane
Up the wall: Paul Benney in Red Hook


There are lots of small contemporary ballet troupes around, but none has quite the impact of the Chamber Dance Project (Kaye Playhouse, June). Director-choreographer Diane Coburn Bruning brings a lusty vision to the stage, demanding gutsy, good-humored dancers, live music, and an intimate atmosphere. Her Suspended sent a red-and-black-clad Peter Boal, for whom it was created, into a Gorecki-fueled centrifugal plunge around the compressed point of his fifth position, then into a pensive wrestle with John Welker. A bounding Welker joined three winning women in Bruning’s breezy Ode, and her two sensual duets easily outmaneuvered Stanton Welch’s Kisses. The company’s renditions of Ann Carlson’s Four Men in Suits and Adam Hougland’s Stand 9 revealed its gift for wry drama. Two interludes by the CDP’s own string trio and pianist filled out a true “chamber” evening: a couple of hours in the company of fascinating strangers who, by evening’s end, were strangers no more. —Alicia Mosier

A wooden basement floor surrounded by risers and flowing white sheets set the stage for seven pieces by members of Amanda Selwyn’s choreography collective Notes in Motion (45 Bleecker Theater, July). A highlight was the charismatic Johari Mayfield’s Women’s Fib. Mayfield made a quick change from folding laundry and gospel singing to become a white-wigged, bulimic ballet dancer with pom-poms. She’s ready for a one-woman show. Polished and promising was Selwyn’s Hold On, an experiment in partnering and human connection that had unusual interactions and coordination between dancers—leaning against hips, shoulders, heads, and ankles. The exploration of different ways to hold, touch, and carry, combined with Grace Kang’s meditative digital composition, conveyed the influence of September 11. Dancer Susanna Kim shone in her solo section and with the ensemble. For the collective, the challenge is how to balance the everything-goes workshop motto with a seamless final product. —Shannon Brady Marin

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