Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Impressions of luciana achugar’s “An Epilogue for Otro Teatro: True Love”

luciana achugar’s “An Epilogue for Otro Teatro: True Love.” Photo by Scott Shaw. 

In 2014, luciana achugar (she spells her name with lowercase letters) premiered "Otro Teatro" at New York Live Arts. "Otro Teatro" opened conventionally enough: achugar, in a black shift dress that showed smears of red on her legs, twirled in ceremonial rapture. Then, something odd happened. Audience members began moaning and writhing and thumping down the stairs to join her on stage. It appeared that achugar's dancing had hypnotized these individuals — later revealed to be plants — into a trance.

Co-presented by Gibney Dance and the Chocolate Factory Theater, achugar is back with "An Epilogue for Otro Teatro: True Love," which employs similar elements: length (like the original, this pushes past three hours), theme (dance as ecstasy), and ritual (as manifested through rhythm and repetition). This piece, though, lacks...

To read the balance of my review (3.5 minutes to read), please visit The Dance Enthusiast

Friday, December 11, 2015

Impressions of Complexions Contemporary Ballet's "Chronicle"

Complexions Contemporary Ballet in Dwight Rhoden's "Chronicle." Photo by Nina Wurtzel. 

The sixteen dancers of Complexions Contemporary Ballet sure are good-looking. Dewy with youth and sparking with confidence, they command attention. Their pulchritude isn't limited to passive beauty; they are athletes of the highest caliber. From piercing the sky with balletic arabesques to funky, punchy weight changes, they can do it all.

Unlike a traditional corps de ballet, which prizes uniformity, these men and women crackle with individuality. Small, tall, slender, or stocky: the company embodies the diversity and vitality of 21st century America. Their uniqueness is united by a performative ferocity that never flags.

During the second week of their residency at The Joyce Theater, this stamina holds them in good stead. They perform resident choreographer Dwight Rhoden's two-act ballet "Chronicle,” of which the first act, ”When Hell Freezes Over,” is a world premiere while the second, “Mercy,” originated in 2009. A loose plea to embrace peace, “Chronicle” flaunts the company's corporeal acuity.

Rhoden treats the body...

To read the balance of my review, please visit The Dance Enthusiast

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Impressions of Jeff Seal and the Raving Jaynes at Triskelion Arts

The Raving Jaynes as part of a split-bill program featuring Jeff Seal at Triskelion Arts. Photo by Beth Portnoy.

“Once the audience buys a ticket, they enter into a social contract not to say anything,” says comedian Jeff Seal. He’s not wrong, but he’s not right either.

Performers expect the audience to maintain a respectful silence. Courteous applause, fervent cheering, and the occasional sneeze or cough: these stand as acceptable noises from spectators. Yet, our silence reveals much.

Nowhere is this more apparent than a comedy show. When the jokes fall flat, everyone knows. Politeness turns pained, and grins pucker into winces.  We might not say a thing, but the artists feel our judgment.

In their split-bill program at Triskelion Arts, Seal and improv duo the Raving Jaynes make it their goal to elicit laughter — lots of it. Their brand of comedy isn’t...

To read the balance of my review, please visit The Dance Enthusiast.