Performing Arts: Dance
February 18, 2019
Wandering about The Chocolate Factory amid a limited scope of objects – brushes, horse hoof shoes, a stalk of celery, and blocks of floral foam, Jen Rosenblit, stern and without pants, is cornered by aimlessness into pure intentionality. She never moves without relating to her items – adjusting, wearing, and riding them through space. She keeps an eye on us, yet is unperturbed until, when Gérald Kurdian’s industrial sound design reaches an un-ignorable intensity, Rosenblit struts on one hoof, pulling the curtain away to reveal our seats (and Kurdian). With but a sharp cock of her head, we obediently migrate towards the ensuing complex interplay of object, language, and physicality entitled “Im gonna need another one.”

We settle on Rosenblit sitting profile to us on a throne of blocks, amputating the bristles of a broom. Speaking in second person, her tone is soothingly chastising. Her eloquence strikingly contrasts her previous, beastly presence and tangles us in a web of contradictory sentiments that render the English language a level playing field of meaning. Centering on assessing parts of wholes as wholes unto themselves, she casts us as such archetypes of the theme as a compulsive furniture arranger, a sous chef, a pack of wolves, an octopus, and a re-centralized viewing of the Wizard of Oz with Dorothy out of the picture. Rosenblit counters her obtuse accusations with a neat alternation between textually and bodily dominated scenes that progressively elaborate on what came before. She thus dances the alphabet for us with either her whole body or particular parts. Pants on, she does it again in heels, utilizing the blocks in a way that inadvertently destroys them in a deadpan gusto comprised of authoritarian glamor, harmless vulgarity, and a childlike sense of accomplishment.

The floral foam itself is a similarly protean particle, standing in, like the beads of an abacus, as a micro vessel for larger concepts. Weather as sculptural components or a cutting board for the celery, all are inevitably crumbled into infinitely smaller parts no matter the specialization, save one that is penetrated by bristles into a wheat field that just so happened to have been given to me at the expense of my eligibility to speak later on.

Upon completing her discussion, Rosenblit takes a moment to sing a wonky ode to things she likes, Kurdian tenderly accompanying on bass guitar. Her list, nodding to custom furniture and living alone, confirms her having been the antecedent for “you” all along. For the first time she speaks to us, asking a focused list of questions – if we came alone, how we treat our windows, and what we will make her for dinner. She moves forward in her questioning with people who share her likes. Effortlessly able to listen and respond to multiple people in different stages of discourse, Ringmaster Rosenblit tenderly heckles us into a deeper specificity of thought, until Kurdian’s sound swells once more to signal a final dance that spreads the foamy remnants into dusty crop circles.

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