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  •  REVIEW: FOUR FRUITS

      Four Fruits
    Pleasures of the fresh

    Enter the hidden, sensual, inner world of fruit in the oddly humorous and intelligent "Four Fruits," a set of dances devoted to apricots, oranges, plums, cherries, why we love them and what they want from us.

    By JOSHUA TANZER
    Offoffoff.com


    Fruit, I dimly recall Tom Robbins writing in one of his early novels, is sex incarnate. It is not only part of the reproductive life of the tree, it is also one of the great, ecstatic sensual experiences available to us fruit-eaters.

    FOUR FRUITS
    Choreography by: Karinne Keithley.
    Dancers: Karinne Keithley, Mindy Nelson, Melissa Briggs, Shoshana Hoffert, plus narrator Nick Cogan..

    Related links: Official site
      
    So why not a dance about fruit? In "Four Fruits," choreographer Karinne Keithley approaches this unexpected subject with a humor and intelligence that make the program as juicy as a ripe peach in August.

    Not that there are any peaches in "Four Fruits." But there is, most notably, a wonderful solo dance to the apricot. Really. Keithley — who says she is fascinated by found music and random history, the kind of things she might find among the castoff books and records at a flea market — dances to a soundtrack that includes obscure tunes overlapped by a faux-BBC voiceover about the history of the apricot.

    The effect is like those bits of barely heard information that creep into your dreams if you sleep through the radio news in the morning. With movements that sometimes recall silent-movie comedians, hula hoopers, or Ann-Margret in "Bye-Bye Birdie," Keithley dances lithely and then suddenly responds to scattered words from the voiceover, absently mouthing random phrases as they're said by the BBC-like announcer. The dance and the words keep veering toward each other, momentarily overlapping and bouncing apart again to hilarious effect.

      
      The cherries desperately await the fulfillment that will be theirs if we will just enjoy their flesh. It must be no accident that we have our own sexual slang involving the cherry.
      
    There are also tributes to the orange, which orbits the bodies of all four dancers like a planet around the sun; the plum, which we're told is the saddest fruit; and the cherry, which is the subject of myths and beliefs throughout the ages. (One of the bits of discovered history in this piece is the tale that Broadway had to cross Manhattan diagonally because an ornery farmer refused to uproot his cherry tree to let the street go straight. I found the story on the Internet, so maybe it's true.)

    I think it was in connection with the cherry that Keithley and Shoshana Hoffert pause to reveal what fruit really think. The cherries sit mutely on the tree, inwardly screaming, "Pick me, love me, eat me, won't you? Pick me, love me, eat me, won't you?" They desperately await the fulfillment that will be theirs if we will just enjoy their flesh. It must be no accident that we have our own sexual slang involving the cherry.

    In fact, at one point, these four fruits are explicitly compared to the female anatomy, so maybe now you've figured out the meaning of those mysterious, soft, round, sweet, fleshy, sexy repositories of delight and why these four women dancers are celebrating them. Maybe you're ready to surrender to the pleasures of the "Four Fruits." And just when you think you understand, that's when the banana shows up.

    OCTOBER 12, 2001
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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