Performing Arts: Dance
April 4, 2014
In the four years since entering the New York Dance scene, Summation Dance has made its mark with aggressively physical choreography that somehow maintains a poised nature no matter what the underlying content or conjured ambience. Co-founded by Artistic Director/Choreographer Sumi Clements and Associate Artistic Director Taryn Vander Hoop, the all female company celebrated its 4th Annual NY Season at Brooklyn Academy of Music, presenting two world premieres.

Opening with the strongest work of the evening, "Updating Route, Please Standby" begins with the pattering of bare feet, creating a percussive rhythm as the lights reveal a collection of female dancers spread across the space each in what resembles a preparatory wrestling stance. Looks and body facings shift as they settle into a quiet pause before pacing to another spot. The work dances a fine line between swift, unmitigated edginess and simple prettiness - particularly in the technical movement phrases showcasing body lines, or the clear-cut formations and transitions.

Undoubtedly DJ Lorn's electronic musical accompaniment - which adds a busy, echoing element - helps create the powerful world in "Updating Route, Please Standby." The organized chaos of the work, presented through the intense stoicism and ferocity of the dancers, metaphorically takes on the human need to reassess and reposition one's views, relationships, and plans despite, or perhaps amidst, the incessant saturation of society.

The world premiere of "Hunt" follows, delving into the concept of the individual pinned against the group in a different way. This time the work has a historical influence - based on the tales surrounding the persecution of witches - which is reimagined in a feminist light. The nods to independence and strength are apparent as two slowly shift and move on the ground downstage, occasionally moving up to their knees. A row of dancers behind them, all dressed in airy, cream-colored togas (Brigitte Vosse), pass through multiple times largely moving in unison which creates a calm, decorative undertone to contrast the quirky nuances of the duo's simultaneous solos.

Collaborator Kyle Olson's original composition for "Hunt" is dynamic, evolving from soft hums to the sound of rain to electronic sections that build in intensity. At one point the dancers split into smaller groups of two and three and through shuffling steps, they rotate between each other and encircle the space. This dizzying pattern stirs up the work's trajectory, though "Hunt" does not achieve the level of captivating energy that "Updating Route, Please Standby" does. It is within these energized, powerful moments that Summation Dance and the ardent movement quality of Clements' choreography thrives the most.
EYE ON THE ARTS - Jenny Thompson

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