Theater archives

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.