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  •  REVIEW: DOUG ELKINS

      Doug Elkins
    No REM in "Redux"

    Doug Elkins' re-make of "Narcoleptic Lovers Redux" is far from sleepy as it fuses his signature medly of movement styles with crisp performing and effervescent wit at Summerstage.

    By LORI ORTIZ
    Offoffoff.com


    With a strain of fluid spiraling capoeira (Brazilian martial art) style and hip hop street-smart cool, choreographer Doug Elkins cements eleven dances to make "Narcoleptic Lovers Redux". The 43-minute piece engages with the sounds of Lenny Bruce, Urban Species, Sinead O'Conner and Mozart's Don Giovanni.

    DOUG ELKINS
    Choreography by: Doug Elkins.
    Dancers: The Doug Elkins Dance Company.
     SCHEDULE
    Central Park Summer Stage
    Central Park
    July 25, 2003

      
    Interestingly, many of the dances end with someone facedown on the floor. The clunky fall, a gesture of futility, is a repeated device that creates a cohesive rhythm. The dreamy but rough and tumble Narcoleptic has a palliative beat. The movement fascinates and the mood sustains through the vicissitudes of the love situations Elkins presents. In solo, duet and love triangle, the dubious propositions unfold with contagious fever.

    "Champagne Aria", a full company dance, is effervescent with its hand clapping and fast paced repeating phrases that contrast with the elegant Mozart. In "The Seed", the focus is dispersed. The mottled lighting of the Summerstage produces a sort of camouflage effect that doesn't help. The unmerciful ambient light of the outdoor theater reveals unpolished transitions between dances.

    Brian Caggiano moved with equal amounts of athleticism and grace in his solo "Monkey Section." His caricature does not actually warm this audience to laughter but still refreshes.

    "The Experience" is a jazzy hip-hop dance set to a Lenny Bruce stand-up sketch about the merits of various life-threatening diseases. As accompaniment for dance, it comforts like the Howard Stern show — chosen companion for millions of Americans. Sharon Estacio crosses herself, before plunging into syncopated movement. The gesture is irreverent as the hand-clapping games that occur elsewhere in the dance. Women crossed themselves while smiling at a male partner in Elizabethan era dance.

    In "To is a Preposition, Come is a Verb," Pippa Frame and Caggiano tease, fight and foreplay to another Bruce sketch. "You can't come," he chides, the dance finishes forgivingly. Caggiano and Estacio underscore the banal in the "Untitled Duet." Their casual movement conversation includes grabbing each other's genitals with playful unconcern. Estacio is a standout with her superb tension and tougher-than-thou attitude.

    Elkins inquisitive gaze lights on a confluence of language modes. In the last "Lullaby," Estacio speaks in an isolated gesture of Eskimo or American Sign. With fuller exploitation, the language could be encrypted, pushing the envelope for dance. Estacio's stocky body type finds it's own center of grace. That grace, the borrowed capoeira, MTV and street styles, are at home in Elkin's vocabulary; they are the more corporeal wonders Elkins works with credibility in the innovative pastiche "Lovers".

    AUGUST 3, 2003
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Doug Elkins:

  • work well done   from garry benjamin, Apr 27, 2004

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