DANCEOFF!—the ingenious fun fest curated by Terry Dean Bartlett and Katie Workum—was, once again, a smash. Carolina Orlovsky and Felipe Telona’s sweeping Tango and Mambo showed why they’re world champs—timing, attitude, not to mention Orlovsky’s fantabulous getups. Leigh Garrett longed to outdo them in Cha Cha Championship, but was hilariously stymied. In Hippie Elegy, Headlong Dance Theater’s Amy Smith and Jeb Kreager ventured an anti-tango—two schlubs now lifted unto transcendence, now staggered by folk rock tunes. Bartlett and Workum’s obsessive Dance for a Girl (Unnamed) harked back to Bartlett’s death-defying work with Streb. Completing the bill: Short Ride Out, a meticulous Annie-B Parson solo for Tricia Brouk, Garrett’s Conversations: a and b, Workum’s Stay. Stuck., Weena Pauly’s frightening Ta, and Amy Larimer and Paul Sullivan’s hair-raising mockumentary Miss Penelope’s School of Stillness.
A potpourri of international artists mixes it up downtown
New Dance Alliance’s Performance Mix Festival samples “cutting edge” dance, music, and multi-disciplinary art from across the U.S. and abroad. You hope for revelations, but this year’s opening-night omnibus felt decidedly lean. One solo suffered from outlandish length disproportionate to its ideas, and wardrobe malfunction as well. (When dancing in a hoopskirt, make sure the skirt fully covers the hoops.) Another solo was notable mainly for the buff, rippling sculpture of its male soloist’s upper body. A duet put more energy into overlapping video and live action than into . . . well, the actual content of the live action. Elsewhere, a “sunflower” spilled from its toppled pot and danced to Latin rhythms. Happily, FREEFALL (ltd) wrapped up with an accomplished duet by Lynn Marie Ruse partnered by Alison Armbruster-Russell. A Short Piece About Love—clever, aggressive, and as full-bodied as its duo—makes you cry, “Why, yes! Ravel’s Bolero really is about two women!”