This season’s “Fresh Tracks” includes impressive showings from young women unafraid of their strength, emotions, or ability to be downright silly. Cold Blooded Was the Bird, by Despina Stamos and Wen-Shuan Yang, takes my prize for confident impetuousness with its cartoonish movement, goofy visual non sequiturs, and oddball sound effects—including a burping waiter. Now and then a cardboard cat, toting a Baggie full of yellow feathers, skateboards from one wing to the other. Dada lives!
Carmelita Naval plays on the title of her trio, Tell—opening with allusions to the famous archery target, green apple on head, and eventually revealing what ugly trouble Cupid can get us into. The dancers are athletically strong yet victims of some unseen and unpredictable romantic Other and one another (I’ll never again hear “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” as an innocuous little ditty). Ivy Baldwin’s One Flew Sideways also features strong women, unrefined, larger than life, driven by will above all. Michel Yang’s solo, if I were a beauty queen, has only one striking image (assisted by lighting and a water can). But I was moved to tears by Tessa Nebrida’s The Secret History of Water. She starts slowly, as if suspended within the ocean, then struggles to stay upright as swells surge by. Her engrossing performance builds to its strange, beautiful conclusion: Her use of Schubert’s Ave Maria, in this exceptional dance about living one’s dying, is somehow not too much. The cameo-faced Monica Bill Barnes’s solo She’s Snapped, she left, another successful offering, is conceived and performed with passion.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 18, 2000