Danger, Subversion, and Dolphins in Paraiso’s Winter Wonderland
It’s a Dance Thing!!!
La MaMa Annex Theater
La MaMa curator Nicky Paraiso launched a new winter showcase for emerging choreographers diverse in background, style, and focus. Most of Program A’s pieces displayed intriguing twistedness and bite. Clarinda Mac Low’s solo, Public Blunder #6: Wha—? Errrrr . . . . . . , satirized a desperate, faux-patriotic frenzy presaging the long, painful fall of the American empire. Jenny Seastone Stern and DJ Mendel, in the starkly ghoulish Almost Christmas, suggested that one can be both child and parent of one’s fear and showed how to steal its thunder. Ayo Janeen Jackson’s Deconstruction With a License to Ill (powered by Tupac Shakur’s rage) mutated a white woman—dutiful Catherine Cabeen—into an admixture of B-boy, Hindu deity, Marcel Marceau, and Nadia Comaneci faster than you can read all that. Even John Peruzzi’s Starkist, despite daffy, bubblegum aesthetics, drew upon the prevailing mood of danger and subversion: The childlike dancer suddenly had to rescue his toy dolphin from a murderous fisherman!
Another Girl With a Pearl Earring Steals Robbins’s Show of Student Work
Dances By Very Young Choreographers
Dance Theater Workshop
With luck—and pluck—most of the young people showcased by master teacher Ellen Robbins will stick with dance, a blessing for the art. Kudos to Birdy Sahagian, whose solo, The Thinker—after Rodin—took us on a twisty walk through her process of creating it. Although her recorded musings sounded (deliberately) befuddled, Sahagian’s witty moves, gestures, and facial expressions revealed a self-assured performer. Robbins’s beautiful Walkaround Vermeer (with Sahagian in the title role) offered her teenage students a complex challenge. Inspired by the 17th-century artist, it animates his paintings, complete with lovely costumes and scenery, characteristic body language, and period dances such as the saraband and gavotte. The performers danced and handled the myriad props with sensitivity and precision. Their acting charmed and convinced. Also presenting enjoyable new works were Ariane Rockoff-Kirk, Livia Whitermore, Maia Sage Ermansons, Annarose Lipkin, Ming Lin, Fiona Flynn Evans, Hannah Burnette, and Charlotte Richman.