“Fridays@Noon” (92nd Street Y) helps choreographers get immediate, informal feedback on works in progress. What could be more bracing, I wondered, than showing your fledgling dance to the tough, honest crowd—city schoolkids—surrounding me? Sweet, nutty Raymundo Costa had to go first, poor man, but Bags, his solo about the joys and perils of curiosity, won the nicest response. Clearly, kids identified with Costa’s resourcefulness. Each time he dived into one of numerous brown paper bags, it was as if they went right in with him. He retrieved surprises—a mousetrap (ouch!), a bouquet (awww!)—or turned bags into lumpy body fat or percussion instruments or wading boots in which he heroically forged ahead. Wendy Blum’s Tripping the hot wire explored how far, how heedlessly she could push her hardy but human body; part of Doug Henderson’s woozy, discordant music sounded, aptly, like a distant siren. There’s a bravura performance waiting to emerge here. Phyllis Lamhut’s clever Do Rag, to Scott Joplin rags, featured Jessica Nicoll and Barry Oreck skittering and slinking in and out of view while wearing the title headgear. The best part was long, tall Oreck testing gravity with his resilience and expressiveness.
In “Vocalscapes: Rituals” (Danspace Project), singer Philip Hamilton presented a tapestry of vocal and musical wonders interwoven with dances by Katiti King, Ron Brown, and Kevin Wynn. If the St. Mark’s Church sanctuary were more intimate, this inventive program would have rocked harder. Even so, Telly Fowler in Brown’s solo, Hope Sister, managed to seize all the energy and spiritual authority in the space, undulating like Damballah and striking killer balances—a perfect counterpart to Hamilton’s masterful voice.