The Peak Performances presentation of Motherland by Charlotte Vincent’s Vincent Dance Theatre (October 17-20) was a blast! According to the press release, Motherland is “Spurred on by Simone de Beauvoir, Caitlin Moran and the Spice Girls, [and] Vincent goes into battle with the big boys, arguing against a narrow, over-sexualized definition of femininity to ask what it is that we really, really want.” Now, take away the story and look at Vincent’s direction and there are fine choices made in what follows what. There are characters that shape the story: women in sexy underwear and pumps, pregnant via a man stuffing balls of cotton in her dress, squatting over “blood” falling from between her legs or donning a wig and belting out a tune. One man, like the women, in pumps and a skimpy dress dances to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies,” or another, after an unbalanced solo, facing away from the audience, “slams” his penis in a box, but this was not all, there was much more. The very funny slow-motion cross by man with man, woman with woman, or mixed couples hurting or escaping impending pain from a high-heel shoe, or any other deadly prop, is another example. The many layers and many faces of woman and man are eloquently framed as the single 13-year-old girl in the cast maneuvers through these emotional truths and discern that she doesn’t fit. In one scene when the cast of ten races around the space, in relay style, passing one or another prop, the young girl ends up with two red pumps, she tries them on, but alas, they don’t fit. At the end, everyone is a mess of “blood,” dirt and sweat. The show was just a bit too long, but the exceptional cast (Andrea Catania, Alex Catona, Robert Clark, Greig Cooke, Patrycja Kujawska, aurora Lubos, Janusz Orlik, Joan Plunkett, Scott Smith and Leah Yeger) delivered humor, dance, music, good theatre and gives us more to think about.
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I am a performer, historian, consultant and dance writer. I am a faculty member at Hunter College, Sarah Lawrence College (Guest), Empire State College's online program Center for Distance Learning. I am also a former faculty member of The Ailey School and the Alvin Ailey/Fordham University dance major program, Kean University and The Joffrey Ballet School's Jazz and Contemporary Trainee Program. I write on dance for The Amsterdam News, Dance Magazine and various publications. Click below to read more about me at my home page - "About Me."