Striking Image Breaches Its Promise With Unmoving Dance


Self Service, the newest work on Nina Winthrop’s program at the Flea, opens with collaborator and dancer Joanna Kotze embraced by a sliver of light hacked from the darkness. It’s a dramatic image with potential to evolve into a powerful painting, but one whose layers Winthrop just begins to peel away. Kotze appears as a gash of red material and precariously thin flesh within a white box. She paces her runway, searching the blackness before piercing the frame and abruptly jogging around the box like a soccer player shaking off a bad game. She resumes entrapment in the light, but sympathy is harder to summon for the self-imposed rut. When she pushes to the edge of the box, spine arching, arms extending toward crucifixion, the light fades on a woman who has perfectly inscribed an uncertain environment, but shared little about herself. Winthrop’s five-woman troupe performed with energy and sincerity in two other works.