Take Me Out

Two choreographers make the city their stage

Excerpts from the sound score that Brooks Williams and Norm Scott created for the first Agora add to the piece's atmosphere with eerie, watery sounds, distant calls, and gentle percussion. We also hear thunder and rain. Live sound created or culled by Bora Yoon sounds magical in the resonant space. Ellie Harrison wanders around the nearly deserted pool singing an aria. Yoon strolls playing a violin.

Lafrance and other choreographers who contributed bits have created a cornucopia of images—often too many or too brief to take in all at once. And Thomas Dunn's lighting, sensitive though it is, sometimes leaves in dimness events I think we're meant to see. Lafrance must want us to experience Agora II as we experience street life in all its messy liveliness, catching it on the run. On occasion, she wisely reduces the cast of over 50 so we can better absorb what she wants to show us. Still, I could wish for tighter organization and design. We only catch the kids on silver scooters once, and I crave more. I'm grateful for the near-constant presence of Celeste Hasting's charmingly bizarre squad of "Butoh Rockettes"—five women with pale makeup, white harem pants, glittering headresses, and long bright-red tresses.

82 Decibels: An elegantly organized ruckus
photo: Dancing in the Streets/Julie Lemberger
82 Decibels: An elegantly organized ruckus

Sometimes I feel like the four young men whose assignment, apparently, is to stroll once around in the pool, taking in the sights, and remarking to one another in bemusement things like, "It's definitely something . . . " I've only hinted at the plethora of vignettes—lovely, funny, moving, strange, baffling. Just taking in the sheer amount of stuff Lafrance lays out, while a breeze blows autumnal coolness into the city and planes swim by in the dark sky overhead, is a gratifying New York experience.

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