Performing Arts: Dance
February 7, 2014
Spare in form, the dancers are nonetheless full-flavored in Pam Tanowitz’s season at the Joyce Theater. She distributes ballet steps inside modern dance structures assembling intelligent, musical sequences.

In the first piece, “Passage” two women, Maggie Cloud and Melissa Toogood, interact with the onstage violin soloist, Pauline Kim Harris performing a composition by John Zorn.

Ms. Kim starts out standing in the center, flanked by the two dancers in unitards mirroring movements on either side of the stage. The violinist travels between four different stations marked by a black music-stands. Arms windmill around an erect torso set over deep plies and steps that comment on the music’s rhythm including a spree of heels tapping out beats like Indian Bharatanatyam dances.

A group work “Heaven on One’s Head” features the Flux Quartet playing Conlon Nancarrow’s String Quartets nos. 1 and 3 for nine dancers—five men and four women. In a whimsical nod, the blood red curtain raises about 1/3 of the way up revealing legs tracing steps. It rises to reveal dancers in matching red velvet accented outfits.

Diagonal walks morph into runs that rise into lifts. Activity is concentrated on the legs with the arms straight up or out to the side, but never assuming the filigree of a ballet port de bras except for a chain of turns that included arms curved in front of the chest. That said, the steps thread many traditional ballet steps and combinations—what I call Cunningham Ballet. All the performers are well versed in Tanowitz’s stylistic imprint and the curtain comes down on a satisfying evening of dance.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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