Theater archives

True to Form


The St. Mark’s ushers invited us to walk around “Angel,” Lloyd Cross’s 1977 animated hologram of Judson-era improviser Simone Forti. Trespassing on Danspace Project’s usually well-guarded performance floor created a rare pre-concert energy—mellow and open. Some folks loitered, chatting as if Forti were background decor, a rainbow fish in a restaurant aquarium. It was dismaying to see handlers dismantle and remove “Angel,” but how like Forti’s be-here-now, gone-tomorrow dancing! Sparked by words solicited from the audience—curly, phosphorescence, and beatenLogomotion emerged from Forti’s mind in voluptuous waves, her moves and talk based in images of water arching, sinking, lunging, or rippling under sunshine. She traveled the floor on a boat-like coat and reminded us of redwood rings and spiraling galaxies. With organic purity, she reconnected a battered city to its gracious universe: “When a big thing falls,” she intoned, “it falls big, big, and it rains, it rains. And it’s not beaten, and the earth just keeps curling around itself . . . it’s only one big curl.” Illuminations 2001 (music supplied by Charlemagne Palestine) showed angelic tai chi and those ebbing, flowing waves again, a palpable, one-woman flood made of simple walking. Daniel Lepkoff joined Forti in another Logomotion voyage as, true to form, she found streams running below Spring Street’s concrete.

Boston’s Nicola Hawkins (Danspace Project) presented six accessible, even glamorous works that avoided easy sentimentality and cliché. She’s come a long way since The Swim (1993), her wonderfully nutty if prolonged aquatic-show spoof. The Splintered House, Cymbal and Spice, and Constellation offered surprises as Hawkins challenged her dancers’ balance, carving their robust exuberance with a disciplined hand, making them shine. I’d love to turn her loose on major troupes and watch her free the angels in the stone.