October 26, 2018
Sean Curran made waves as a member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in the late 1980's and since that time he’s been fairly consistently choreographing for his company and various other entities.
This fall, during the 2018 Next Wave Festival, BAM invited Curran back for a mini retrospective and look forward. Originally executed in an outdoor space, Sean Curran and Company performed a renovated piece from 2000 Abstract Concrete. Dressed in bright, primary colored short-cut unitard, dancers jauntily loped around in breezy patterns.
Anchoring the evening was the New York premiere of Everywhere All the Time (2018) which featured costumes by Liliana Casabal, set design by landscape architect Diana Balmoria, and music by Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy performed by Third Coast Percussion.
The inventive visual and aural elements took precedence over the choreography. Three translucent, stretched screens made of branch-shaped profiles are stacked one behind the other forming a Renaissance style “vanishing perspective.” The optical illusion interplayed with dancers as they moved in and out of the open spaces. When bodies appeared and disappeared through the thicket of screens, it resembled a film because dancers- propelled by the dynamic percussive music- appeared to dissolve or cross-fade from one screen to another. Positioned in an antiphonal formation—2 sets of percussionists sat in boxes house –front and 2 sets on either side of the stage -- Third Coast Percussion generated a 360 degree soundscape. In the end, the musical composition in play with the sets and light by Robert Wierzel and Mark Randall produced the most evocative performance.
Sandwiched between these two pieces was a perennial favorite from 2001 Quadrabox Redcux which re-united Curran with Tigger Benford and Martha Partridge along with Benjamin Freedman. Seated on big wood boxes, the dancers basically re-created an intricate series of rhythmic, percussive hits on the box, body, and floor. In essence, it’s an updated, elongated “pattin’ juba” body extravaganza that thrills audiences.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis