Hummel Probes the Inexplicable Relationships We Can’t Do Without
Stay, choreographed by Shannon Hummel in collaboration with her dancers, is an ambitious extended duet for two women—a small, feisty, dominant figure (Vanessa Adato) and a willowy, gentler one (Donna Costello). Repeatedly, with mounting intensity, they play out an agenda of tentative yet helplessly compelling seduction, awkwardly calibrated connection, and near-violent collapse that’s apparently rooted in a terror of intimacy. This situation is central to Hummel’s work. Typically, the figures of her imagination relate intensely to one another, while the hows and whys of their liaisons remain enigmatic. Here, as usual, the movement language is gratifyingly plain—strong and visceral in the center of the body, often delicate and naturalistic in the action of the hands and face. As the dance progresses, the two are drawn inextricably deeper into a folie à deux they might have anticipated, but didn’t. It’s almost like real life.
Jill-of-all-trades explores many dance paths with multimedia add-ons
Anita Cheng Dance
Anita Cheng’s dance imagination teems with ideas. Field, a new quartet for women, shows her building out from her earlier Merce Cunningham influence. Here the abstract space-parsing, with its cutting-edge arm and leg extensions, takes on some burly, roiling shapes, even some implied drama. Much of the work incorporates a video element; a solo for Cunningham veteran Meg Harper depends on it. The live dancer, making tiny, delicate gestures, works beside her image, differently angled and synched, caught on camera. Here and in the new Path Garden, an enigmatic, filigreed duet for Harper and Mark Morris alum Victoria Lundell, Cheng appears to be a goddess of small things. Yet a brief solo for herself takes nothing less than Asian landscape, art, and philosophy as its province. All of this work is intelligent, if not visceral enough to be compelling. Maybe the moment has come for Cheng to work deep instead of wide.