January 31, 2014
“Soaking Wet”, four evenings of short dances, opened Thursday with the first of two separate programs that night at the West End Theater. Curated by David Parker and Valerie Gladstone, the program featured works from Angela Maffia, Silva Dance Company, Heidi Latsky, and Jordan Isadore aka Sara DuJour. A small audience of 30 nestled into their chairs, as the dancers presented their work in the half circle style stage, and gathered at the end for a short talk back lead by Gladstone.
Maffia’s “Axis Obliquity”, a duet, was based on Ben Munisteri's movement motifs, and performed by Maffia and Blain Horton. The piece was structured with strong shapes and classical modern dance moves. Garbed in blue, the dancers struck a series of pauses, which interlaced with the lullaby sounding music of Hung I Chan could have put one to sleep. But the movement quality began to pick up near the end with a sharper attack that juxtaposed against the soft sounds.
Leandro and Janete Silva of the Silva Dance Company presented “Nos” (We), a duet that plays on “the dualistic nature of humanity.” Mr. Silva, shirtless and in dress pants and Ms. Silva in just a white button down and black trunks, pushed and pulled from each other, narrating a break up gone bad. Filled with angst and acrobatic movements, it lacked a bit of the passion the pair was trying to play up. Although some impressive flips and jumps were featured throughout, suddenly the attention was just on Mr. Silva for the last half of the pice, and the duet became more “I” than “We.”
“Interlude,” showcased Latsky and five other dancers, one whom is deaf and another with cerebral palsy. Choreographically lean, the six dancers crowded uncomfortably in the small space. But aside from the kitschy costumes (one dancer in a blue feather choker, black tutu, and a sparkly lace bodice), Latsky created something to be applauded. Unfortunately I only began to appreciate it after learning of her process, creating dance that promotes “inclusions and diversity in the arts." The dancers were always precisely in sync with one another and most of all the dancing was polished and well rehearsed.
Finally, the most entertaining piece of the night was Isadore’s “Petrushka.” Dressed in a flesh colored fish net top, gray drop crotch pants, platform sneakers, and a blonde top knot, Sara DuJour (Isadore), gyrated and split his legs to the music of Michael Jackson and Missy Elliott among others. A take on the Russian classic, the black and white film projected onto a tarp on the wall, as DuJour strutted around with a baseball hat, expressing love and loss through sighs and slow dancing. The comedic factor that DuJour usually has on the website Saradujour.com and in a series of videos that cross culture dance, fashion, history, and music was lost in the stage version, but it was still good for a few good laughs.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Bailey Moon