March 21, 2014
New Work for the Desert, a new piece by choreographer Beth Gill, is a transient exploration of synchronicity and interaction. The blank white stage is shrouded in blue light as a silhouetted dancer slowly walks across the stage. Walking slowly with a clear intent, there is power in each step the dancer takes. Clearly on a journey, she exits the stage, continuing on her path.
Following a generous moment of emptiness, the dancer enters once more, in the same deliberate fashion. The lights begin to rise as she crosses to center stage, where she stops, casting four shadows onto the stark, white ground. While building movement phrases, she is joined by five other dancers who occupy the space she has journeyed to.
Accompanied by composer Jon Moniaci, New Work for the Desert investigates simplicity and space. Of the six dancers, two were dressed alike and danced in unison for the entirety of the piece. Engaged in quick and decisive movements, those two dancers blew across the stage like sand being swept up by the current of the wind.
The four other dancers entered and exited the stage, often dancing in smaller groups of two or three. Gill has an eye for structural movement, creating new shapes from the amount of bodies on stage. Employing sculpted movements, the dancers played off each other both physically and spatially. Momentum could be reversed entirely with a single, sharp arm blocking another dancer’s path.
The piece was danced beautifully, supported by a dazzling set and lighting design by Thomas Dunn. The he work transports you to a barren world where beauty can still be found. A hypnotic and thrilling piece, Gill created a vibrant visual composition.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Annie Woller