Estonian Dancers Dramatize, Flow Soulfully, and Flop Into Dullness
Central Station: Daria Buzovkina
United Dancers of ZUGA
Jarmo Karing of Estonia’s United Dancers of ZUGA can create twisted, riveting drama from simple means. In Open, his soloist Annika Üprus first appeared prim but later her hands wrung and tugged at her clothing, betraying a repressed barbarity that would flare, yet remain mysterious. Russian dancer-choreographer Daria Buzovkina studded her amazing solo Just . . . with cleverly handled props, but the main attraction was her rag-doll dancing. How did she get those spiky, gawky moves to flow like a soulful, juicy song?
Unfortunately the evening closed with ZUGA’s Walking Home Solo, a choreographic collaboration that won an award from Philip Morris Estonia. With precise, measuring strides, Karing charted the shape and levels of a house. The ensuing exchanges between Karing, Tiina Mölder, and Kaja Kann within this imaginary domain were sweet, but, over 40 minutes, all energy evaporated, turning airy cuteness into tedium. —Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Women Make Moves In Black Underwear, Fluorescent Wigs, and Duct Tape
In Leave Yourself at the Door Please!, Nejman and her four dancers growl, snort, and holler, throw themselves into slides and somersaults, and wrestle each other into pig piles like blokes on a rugby field. In the next breath, they’re graceful modern dancers again, then fierce martial artists, ballerinas, and break-dancers, and they make Charlie’s Angels look lame by doing it all in high heels, vintage slips, scanty black underwear, and fluorescent orange wigs. As with carefully-aimed billiard balls, a certain measure of control underlies these dancers’ wild, kinetic energy. There’s an impulse for each spastic gesture, a story behind each muscled leap. “Haven’t I had enough learning experience?” one dancer moans as she mummifies her friend with duct tape. The piece is clearly about women and their boundaries, and while there’s some over-dramatization of this rather cliché subject matter, and some repetitive movement sequences, Nejman is well on her way to defining what female empowerment means in the 21st century. —Adele Nickel
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 6, 2004