By R.C. Baker
By Alexis Soloski
By Alexis Soloski
By R. C. Baker
By Alexis Soloski
By Tom Sellar
By Araceli Cruz
By Brienne Walsh
The music and text that erupt and sink in Bruce Andrewss vivid sound score (Michael Schumacher is also credited as a composer/musician) offer up snippets of Otis Redding, Ethel Waters, and other artists of the Harlem Renaissance, along with musicians associated with 1960s Memphis Soul and Bill Monroes bluegrass. But the voices and instruments are engulfed in a whirlpool of sound; tickling like light rain, crashing, squeaking like a rusty door are just some of the aural images. Andrews, whos involved with Language Poetry, also presents a male voice reciting a disjunct monologue in a white dialect bristling with words like heerd, fer, and wishtwith all rs hard.
Silvers is a wonderfully original creator of movement. Her own dancing employs a variegated palette, in which itchy little steps may be succeeded by big, bandy-legged strides, and suddenly rapt poses succeed gestures that suggest labor in the trenches. She can be an impish girl or a stiff old woman. In the interplay between delicacy and bold vigor, its as if images from a basketful of photos were being lightly flung into her body. The other dancers who come and go in skillfully designed solos and encounters show flashes of competitive athletes, Charleston dancers, martial arts experts, ballet students. In the same way, the songs and sounds in Andrewss score light on them, color their actions, and slide away.
Keith Sabado enters grooving and performsmarvelouslya solo in which his body seems to be making ecstatic sense out of mixed messages. Tall Alan Good, another terrific dancer, employs a jolting, lurching walka stiff puppet with a mad master swinging his limbs. He scrunches up his face or opens his mouth in a maniacal smile. That he has a lamenting chorus of two women also gives him the air of a preacher whose congregation youre glad not to be part of. Silvers has credited Jerry Lewis as being a source, and maybe if you pasted stills of Lewis together and used them as a choreographic score, youd get a person who moved like this.
The choreography makes skillful use of counterpoint and repetition. The first time that Javier Cardona, Alejandra Martorell, and Sara Beth Higgins advance toward us like slo-mo racers, their eyes are on the goal; when they repeat the sequence later, theyre shoving one another out of the way. Theres always something interesting or surprising going on in Yessified, and the dancers look great in Elizabeth Hope Clancys black-trimmed white costumes under Carolyn Wongs astute lighting. Images linger in the mindsome of them swimming around issues (and non-issues) of race. When tall Higgins and Cardona back slowly away from us, holding Sabado stiffly upside down between them, Higgins looks imperturbable, while Cardona seems apprehensive, almost as if he, as a black man, doesnt want to be caught doing this. Yet race becomes porous when tiny Takemi Kitamura takes on Cardona in a martial-arts combat (no matter what he does, once she gets her arms around him from behind, he cant pry her hands loose). Then theres the bit in which Silvers takes the silvered triptych Good has been using to get a tan and aims it at crucial body parts, including her crotch.
In the postmodern world that Yessified reflects, anything can mate with or follow anything else. Except when it cant.