"Magma" cum laude
"Lava Love" is just your typical daredevil trapeze variety hula dance program. With wrestlers in dresses.
By DIANE WEBBER
(Originally reviewed in October 1999 at the Flea Theater, New York City.)
Sarah East Johnson's newly named group, Lava, is a dance company. Mostly.
It's better to say Lava is more of a dance company than anything else, but oh, the glorious influences. "Lava Love," Johnson's current circus/wrestling/hula variety show for seven women, is enjoying an extended run at the Flea Theater in Tribeca until October 30.
Choreographically, Johnson takes the acrobatics typically employed as fireworks in circus acts, gymnastics and even cheerleading and slows them down to powerful, potent lava. Molten rock is a good metaphor for the dancers' bodies too. These are women with abs of titanium who somehow seem liquid soft.
Directed by: Sarah East Johnson.
Dancers: Tanya Gagne, Adrienne Truscott, Natalie Agee, Sarah Michelson, Tanya Uhlmann, Aggie Postman, Sarah East Johnson.
Related links: Official site
There are a few standouts among the dozen short pieces in the show. A precarious, fluid duet by Johnson and Adrienne Truscott looks like something the Pilobolus or Momix dance companies might do. Tanya Gagne and Natalie Agee are hilarious in a campy Hawaiian bit that reminds us why they're called hula hoops.
One of my favorite dances is an erotically-charged duet on one trapeze by Gagne and Johnson. The jeans-clad pair alternately play little girls on monkey bars and big girls in deep love. There are even flashes of the Romantic girl-on-swing motif but these women aren't pining for anyone to push them.|
Four women don Evel Knievel-inspired jumpsuits for a daredevil tumbling pass through rings, and the audience cheers their every feat. Then there's the swing-dance piece for six wrestlers in dresses it is as funny as it sounds.
The matinee I saw was suprisingly well-attended by children not something you often see at a Downtown performance-art venue. But with the short length of the dances, the impressive gymnastics and the humour laced throughout the show, it worked. The under-10 set was rapt. So was this reviewer.
|OCTOBER 1, 1999|
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