Color and Light
Jody Sperling calls her enterprise Time Lapse Dance because some of her solos riff off the fin-de-siècle artistry of Loië Fuller, the American who enthralled Paris with her manipulation of exceedingly long silk garmentsturning herself, with the help of innovative lighting, into a butterfly, a lily, the spirit of fire. In terms of time-lapse photography, Sperlings magical Fuller-inspired pieces do have the look of natural phenomenablossoming, evolving, changing shape.
In the lovely new three-part Debussy Soirée, Sperlings circular silk garment almost fills the stage. Her brilliant lighting collaborator, David Ferri, stains the swirling fabric blue-green, moon gold, dawn pink, and more, while Sperling, wielding long sticks beneath the fabric, creates huge wings and rippling waves. For Evening in Granada, the peach-colored calyx that she spins up around herself turns into flames.
Sperling skillfully varies the complex surges and huge foaming curves with simpler effects: gliding, say, with the fabric belled out around her, or dipping and turning to form a pinwheel. And during her 2003 La Nuit, to John Cage piano pieces (played, like the Debussy, by Jeffrey Middleton), she keeps altering Michelle Ferrantis intricate black silk dress and cloak to suggest new imagesending, as Fuller could notby greeting the day in a black bikini and sunglasses. Variety artists of Fullers day often built an act around a prop or, if hyper-flexible, used their bodies as props. Three antic new trios by Sperlingset to music by Quentin Chiappetta that emphasizes the moves with corny vaudevillian gustogive such stunts a contemporary twist. In An Arm and a Leg and Cheapest, three dancers (Kelly Hayes, Lisa Natoli, and Ashley Sowell in the first, Sperling replacing Hayes in the second) form themselves into interlocking shapes (comparisons to early Pilobolus are inevitable). In An Arm and a Leg, theyre less the show-offs and more like slightly dim-witted creatures wholl try anything that can be accomplished by grabbing their own or a colleagues ankles and twisting, rolling, or hoisting. Suspense enters the picture in Cheap Hoops. Will Natoli, Sowell, or Sperling drop the hula hoops theyre so artfully swinging around themselves? Theyre unconcerned, as if keeping these objects aloft were just part of their daily routine.
Time Lapse Dance
Harry De Jur Playhouse, Henry Street Settlement
June 23 through 25
The program also featured Sleepy Hollow, a nicely haunting, somewhat too enigmatic shadow-puppet play by Drama of Works.
Get the Theater Newsletter
Get a rundown of upcoming theater events and ticket deals in New York.