audiences through the making of the work). In the “Dressed” section which falls after intermission, the evenings’ work is presented with costumes, lights etc. This format is an excellent one for students learning choreography, young choreographers and probably curious audience members. However, as truly informative as getting the insider’s view about the process, there was not enough room for my imagination to run amok during the “Dressed” section. Something to think about.
The evening opened with Varone’s fast-paced and full-bodied work, Rise (1993) to acquaint the audience with his work, says Varone. The very informative “Stripped” section followed where Varone and the dancers introduced the making of the world premiere, Mouth Above Water. In the comfortable and informal setting of the historic dance space at the 92ndStreet Y, Mouth Above Water began using the small stage space and a good deal of the floor space, shared by the audience. A trio of bodies (Xan Burley, Colin Stilwell and Hsiao-Ju Tang) mingling, falling, catching, locking arms, all the while manipulating gestures, began on the stage and ended as they backed up to the wall. On the floor, five bodies (Julia Burrer, Hollis Bartlett, Erin Owen, Alex Springer and Eddie Taketa) would soon cascade onto the space, one here, another there, then in varied groups, taking chances with each other’s weight. An arm would reach from nowhere and another would grab just before a fall into yet another body. Although I learned a bit too much from the “Stripped”section about the next duet with Erin Owen and Alex Springer, it was truly exquisite. Owen and Springer, as action figures turned real people, were true to the intricacies of the toy’s movement, but their dance-script took it to another level. As human-toys, they moved adroitly with ease; their awkward yet intimate non-hug (squared elbows, eyes not meeting) is one example. Sure the sharp edges and the halted movements were there, but they were so capably committed that one hoped their duet would not end. As an aside, it’s always good to see Taketa whose movement resonates in his surefire interpretation of Varone’s work. Taketa joined Doug Varone and Dancers in 1994. Lovely dancing throughout the evening.
Pictured above: Erin Owen, Hollis Bartlett, Julie Burrer, Eddie Taketa, Alex Springer
See more “Stripped/Dressed” – www.92Y.org/harknessfestival
March 1 – 3 – Faye Driscoll: Work-In-Progress
March 8 – 10 – Liz Gerring Company: She Dreams In Code
March 15 – 17 – Ronald K. Brown/Evidence: A Dance Company: Gatekeepers
March 22 – 24 – Kate Weare Company: Garden