The familiar far-away
Dance Anonymous' "In the Borders of Ignorance" creates stunning visuals at the borders, but the choreography remains safely in the middle of the known.
By KELLY HAYES
"In The Borders of Ignorance" by Harry Mavromichalis' Dance Anonymous at the Duke on 42nd St. starts with an ideal formula. Beginning with visually stunning set pieces, elaborate costumes, and a roster of dancers whose credits include world- class companies such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Mark Morris Company, Mavromichalis is heading in the right direction. However, he's not quite there yet.
The first dance, "Fear," is part of a larger work set to premiere in 2004. The central character of Queen Fear (Mara Reiner) imposes on the audience from atop her 16-foot white dress with sleeves that reach the floor. Her opening focus is very strong and commanding. But, when two male dancers appear below her, their relationship with the Queen is unclear. They pull her arms and twist around her. I wasn't sure who was controlling whom.
|IN THE BORDERS OF IGNORANCE|
|Choreography by: Harry Mavromichalis.|
Dancers: Bafana Solomon Matea, Tanja Konjar-Hall, Jonette Ford, Ayelen Liberona, Mara Reiner, Elyssa Dole, Nicole Corea, Sean Scantlebury.
Music by: Zenios Tselepsis, William Catanzaro.
Set design by: Panikos Michael, Panikos Tembriotis.
Costumes by: Yiorgos Bellapaisiotis.
Lighting Design by Clifton Taylor
|The Duke on 42nd Street|
229 West 42nd St.
Oct. 29 - Nov. 2, 2003
More dancers enter the space completely encased in white elasticized bags. Their silent screaming faces pushed into the fabric are straight out of a horror movie. This image is repeated so many times that it loses its initial impact.
Two women attempt to climb Queen Fear's dress. The resulting image of dancers falling into the resilient dress and being pushed out was very intriguing. But, again, I wasn't clear on the relationship between the climbers and the Queen. Were it not for the program notes, I'm afraid I would have been lost.
The second piece on the program, "A Time of Change," had similar problems to the first. The relationship between a character called the "Nurturer" and the others was not defined in the choreography.|
"A Time of Change" was composed of 10 smaller sections, but the transitions between them were either arbitrary or nonexistent. I felt that I saw a string of slides. Situations were presented in each section, but nothing changed
However, there was one jewel located within the piece. A solo titled "Strange Body" displayed fast-moving, tumbling choreography expertly performed by Jonette Ford. Despite the musical choice (Sting's ballad "The Shape of My Heart"), the section is strong and dynamic, a spark of excitement in a show that tended not to stray very far from its initial moderate tempo and generic choreography.
I enjoyed seeing Yiorgos Bellpaisiotis' beautiful costumes on these dancers. Made from luxurious materials and color, they distorted the bodies to create characters and define relationships with the work. It was wonderful to watch the costumes move (and wonderful to see elaborate costumes in modern dance).
"In The Borders of Ignorance" took risks in presenting unusual and stunning visual images through sets, costuming, and makeup design. The choreography needs to learn to take these risks as well. I will be curious to see how the work of Dance Anonymous develops in the future.
|NOVEMBER 12, 2003|
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