“Sideways,” a program of two works by Eliza Miller Dance Company at Danspace Project (March 20 through 23), offered a feast for eyes and ears. Maerchen‘s bright moments included Anne Lentz and Rashaun Mitchell, the two fleet-footed foxes of the “Scarlatti Fever” section, and Christopher Williams, moving like a quirky poseable doll in “Angel Blue.” Sideways, the new piece, thrilled with its melodic and visual suggestion of church bells—shifting, tilting dancers—swinging and descending in wide and narrow arcs. Playing with gravity and momentum, the dancers exerted fine control but, at times, the movement and sound streamed in a heady rush. Miller may be forgiven for creating pieces that feel a bit long and indulgent. Who wouldn’t want to luxuriate in Alan Bern’s splendid music or squeeze the most out of the gifts of these talented performers?
The same weekend, solo specialist Jean Vitrano presented a trio of works at Joyce Soho. Although a petite woman, she dances like a cast of thousands. In My Skin (2001) opened with Vitrano panning her head from one end of the space to the other as if calmly taking the measure of a formidable opponent. The new Shift began with the dancer slowly raising a tissue to dab tears from her eye, then lowering it. In each piece, she soon unleashed coiled energy, virtually washing herself with the space, wearing it, consuming it. At rare, momentary stops, her strong, supple body seemed to resonate. Always restless, sometimes reckless, Vitrano is nevertheless controlled and clear as she sculpts movements in these demanding pieces. For Shift, composer Guy Yarden provided the soundtrack of a cinematic dream. The evening also included Night Blooming Jasmine (1998), an ornate portrait set to Debussy’s “Clair de Lune,” handsomely interpreted by Jeanine Durning.