Theater archives

Flesh and Spirit


Tiffany Mills (Joyce SoHo, April) looks her colleagues in the eye, and her company springs into your heart. Her new Half-Hinged quietly exposes the sinews of friendship. Five dancers in bright blue knot and pull and spill like dominoes, showing gravity’s savage grace. Clackety folk circles peel off into sudden caught falls; Matsuhide Nakashima, benumbed by vulnerability, gets the active concern of his fellows. Rolling the Hillocks is a serene play with nature (one dancer flicks cottonwood fuzz off her nose, another fakes her out from behind an invisible tree). The riotously sustained phrases of groove and horseplay in Root 30 are powered by the tight jangle of Matt Aiken’s musicians. Mills calls the program “three panels of our lives,” and her keen, mature, generous movement unfolds like a rose. —Alicia Mosier

Gabri Christa’s Yeye: The Winti Project (P.S. 122, May 3 through 6) was nonstop crescendo—ladies in red serving up movement that bubbled at fever pitch. This ravishing work—contemporary dance driven by vodun-like traditions of the Dutch Caribbean—was stuffed with allusions to indigenous, African, and Eastern moves, as Christa invoked ancestral spirits. Downing a cup of the choreographer’s peanut soup—a most effective lure—each audience member strode into a web of powerful, multilayered sound by Vernon Reid on guitar and Suphala on tabla. Singer DK Dyson, a colorful spider, worked the hisses, whines, woofs, and ululations as DanzAisa—Christa and troupe—worked the hip wriggles, spins, and razor-sharp extensions, bringing the spirits home. Typically, a shuffling circle of women churned around a column, often casting hot glances at soloists or partners cutting loose. Lighting evoked sunset’s seething glory—appropriate, since energy soaring this high could go nowhere but deep into the black tropical night. —Eva Yaa Asantewaa