Never underestimate the power of women. Three choreographers with vastly differing dramatic visions contributed to DTW’s “Splitstream.” Pat Cremins’s Choke go up touched on individuality and femininity as five women slipped into paper A-line dresses and proceeded to shred them to bits as they wrestled, swept their arms in ellipses, and lowered one another to the ground like leaden backpacks. Better I’d Stayed Up by Nichole Canuso featured a trio of women evoking every adolescent’s obsession with popularity. The gang subsumed and rejected Canuso, who canoodled tenderly, if by rote, with David Brick, whose every move was later shadowed by a male stalker. Canuso defines characters succinctly through a keen selection of gestures and interactions. Roderick Murray designed the set, a sci-fi concatenation of Plexi sheets and glowing columns, for Yanira Castro’s Beacon (excerpts). A dancer snapped into attitude and froze momentarily before plotzing, prone. Three women in black cut-away coats dropped to the floor and scuttled like crabs avoiding onrushing surf. Like short-circuiting automatons, they kicked the wall futilely as they lay on their sides, writhing in a numb orgy. —Susan Yung
Niles Ford explores urban issues in 20 arty, joyful parts
Brother, brother, what’s going on? Niles Ford’s Urban Dance Collective debuted in A Dream Deferred, a vibrant collage of dances, music, and spoken word. Powered by recordings of Marvin Gaye, Björk, Sekou Sundiata, Bob Marley, Ritchie Havens, and others, the work visits issues of war, racism, and American values as our many cultures touch and mix. A cohesive discourse on social problems it was not. A showcase for a talented new ensemble? Definitely. Fine dancers such as Ford himself, Wayne Davis, David Browne, Masayo Tomita, and celestial Kim Grier (from the late Rod Rodgers’s troupe), plus delightful storyteller Marline Martin, lifted it high, mining the zest and goodness of the music and voices. Stretching themselves to the breaking point, they sometimes couldn’t suppress joy—Damn, I’m good! Damn, I feel good!—even while invoking fury or struggle. If there’s any message in this Dream, it’s that art triumphs over adversity. —Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Three for the show in a swell Williamsburg venue . . .
Personal Things in a Public Way” served as the umbrella title for a collaborative concert by Marisa Beatty, Sara Juli, and Jessi Scopp at the admirable pioneering Williamsburg Art neXus (Beatty is one of WAX’s co-founders and directors.) Scopp, by far the most sophisticated of these three young choreographers, presented two pieces, Untitled and Longing to Long. She alternates lithe, quicksilver, frequently violent movement with ominous slow-motion and suspended or frozen postures—to terrific effect. In Beatty’s Silver Lining, which recalls the stern theoretical quality of early German modern dance, a quintet of earnest women explores the action and sensations of the body—and, by extension, the spirit—trapped in a constricted space. In her pomo vaudeville monologue How to Forgive Yourself in Bed, Juli casts herself as a zaftig, ebullient beauty in a raucously sequined swim suit who has “promiscuity issues.” The tone of the piece wavers, but its nerve is undeniable. —Tobi Tobias