July 15, 2018
An overall sense of satisfaction penetrates the audience watching Lucinda Child’s Available Light (1983) at this year’s Mostly Mozart Festival.
A structuralist, Childs deploys minimalist, geometric forms that echo the Renaissance era’s fascination with the golden mean most famously expressed by the mathematical ratio applied to the Parthenon. Her collaboration with composer John Adams and Frank Gehry, the show’s set designer and now famed architect, resonates with the idea of the golden ratio as reflected in the visual and movement elements.
A deep organ chord announces the dancers’ entrance. The space is divided into two spheres, the lower and the upper—the sacred and profane. White light (by Beverly Emmons and Jon Torres) paints the the stage floor and the top platform which is balanced over lattice iron fixtures.
Spare movement that borrows from ballet and the Judson Dance Theater experimentations generates a rigor that permeates every single step and gesture.
Exquisitely mapped out, Childs organizes the dancers in counterpoint to one another. Quartets splinter into duets, build into trios, then flip into longer of shorter lines of kinetic building blocs. Frequently, movement canons connect the dancers below with the dancers above. When a sequence begins on stage, one or another dancer on the 2nd floor picks up the sequence. Frequently, the steps are reversed unfolding backward and forward. It’s a matter of accumulation and attrition.
About half way through, dancers exit in twilight, but rather than ending, the dancers return in silhouette and repeat many of the passages formulated with different group combinations and drenched in red light. White, black and red are the dominant colors reflected as well in square legged leotards or bikinis designed by Kasia Walicka Maimone.
In the space of one hour, the well-rehearsed dancers delivered mediation on complex simplicity.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis