Sarah East Johnson's company of kick-ass women did not disappoint with their sheer daring and strength but also managed to reveal a more delicate side in "High Tide".
By KELLY HAYES
The women of Sarah East Johnson's LAVA are amazing. They tumble through hoops, vault into the air, hang from each other's ankles on the trapeze, and balance their bodies precariously, but the company's "High Tide" at DTW May 1-18, 2003 wasn't just about that.
The show begins with a bang, but is immediately followed by an image of vulnerability. The performers stand at the front of the stage listening to each other's heartbeats and collapsing to the floor.
Directed by: Sarah East Johnson.
Choreographed and Performed by Natalie Agee, Molly Chanoff, Diana Y. Greiner, Sarah East Johnson, Rebecca Stronger, Adrienne Truscott, Marina & Adriana Sgroi
Related links: Official site
|Dance Theater Workshop|
219 West 19th St.
May 1-18, 2003
The themes of help and support, struggle and competition, and the necessity of connection are built into the physicality of LAVA's daring movement. These themes are amplified when the dancers explain onstage how it feels to get into a costume that velcroes two dancers back to back, trying to have a telephone conversation while stunting, singing a capella love songs, and attempting to pull each other off the trapeze.
Natalie Agee, perched atop two other performers, tells us she is supposed to talk about love and heartbreak but doesn't really know what to say. Later, she performs a beautiful, twisting, falling, and elastic trapeze solo and it's in there.
Sometimes things go wrong; tricks don't quite work. This makes the action even more enjoyable because we start to see these out-of-this-world performers as real people. Knowing that mistakes may happen makes the dangerous elements even more exciting.
Amplified sounds in the score that echo the breath and grunts of the artists and video images of rain and rippling water add depth to the show.
Ms. Johnson obviously pays a lot of attention to the execution of the circus tricks and dance movement, transitions, music choices, and the way in which the songs were sung. The improvised spoken monologues included in the evening fell short, at times, of this high standard. Hearing from the performers was enjoyable but perhaps a little more attention to tone and content is needed to really make these sections great. In contrast, Adrienne Truscott's comments that rain never falls on the floor of the Grand Canyon (but you should bring a tent, anyway) and forgetting to pay is different from stealing were memorable and worth noting.
"High Tide" delivered all the excitement, thrills, and humor we've come to expect from LAVA and much more. It was great to have a context for the tricks along with the acknowledgement that "Hey, we know you're here to see a show, but look at what else we've got ...TADA!"
|MAY 22, 2003|
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