Theater archives

Astute Improvisers Run Aground When They Grapple With Dance Theory


A four-person collaborative, De Facto Dance specializes in improvisational work within a generous range of strict structures. Annexing other collaborators as necessary, the members of the quartet seem very much at home in their own bodies, with a fine sense of each other’s presence in terms of mood and actions in the shared space. They were at their best in the 2002 Beginnings, where they pace, twist, run, tumble, crawl, and pose in photo-op freeze-frames, intermittently spoofing the pretensions that can attach themselves to the creation of a dance. The Heroic Diagonal & Other Anti-Dances, a work in progress, may be too much of a stretch. Here they hope to challenge the late, great Doris Humphrey’s rules about choreography, all the while conveying respect and love for their ancestress. Channeling Humphrey’s precepts rather than her lyric, deeply human landmark works, they forget that dance isn’t forged from ideas, but from movement.