Angels we have glimpsed below in disorienting dance
Somewhere between the drafting of Jessica Reese Dessner’s press release and the opening of disORIENTal, the choreographer must have jettisoned anything locating this dance in a specific place (the Sahara) and autobiography. All that remains is “the hard work of angels”—truly hardworking Susannah Keebler and Mary Suk—and the two clueless women in their care. Probably better off for this abstracting, the hour-long piece nevertheless seemed listless and ungrounded despite physically confident dancing by Dessner and Nathalie Dessner and their aforementioned guardians. One remembers, mainly, the intervention of angels grappling with their charges but also lots and lots and lots of revolving—dancers spinning on their feet or rolling their bodies around the floor like stuffed sacks. With little dramatic rhythm or distinct, urgent meaning, the piece simply ended as Keebler and Suk strode off, each nobly raising a winglike arm before her, leaving the Dessners facedown on the floor. —Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Canadian dancers cavort in a series of underdone choreographies
In the first five minutes of this program, we got the picture: These dancers have it all—the bods, chiseled in barely-there shorts and dashing long dresses; the moves, effortlessly morphing angular shapes into spinal undulations, dizzying extensions, head rolls, and hip twists. They’ve got professional polish and youthful spunk, and they even make their own music; in Patrick Delcroix’s Sous le rythme, je . . . , the dancers double as percussionists, slapping skin, floor, and drum and keeping perfect time. All the ingredients are in the pan, but somehow this batter—however deliciously talented—never congeals. There are moments of substance, most notably in Crystal Pite’s Short Works: 24, when male soloists skitter like fireflies in pools of light or when Francine Liboiron demonstrates that she can speak with her legs, but they’re like stars without constellations, lost in the night sky. —Adele Nickel
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