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  •  REVIEW: SPLITSTREAM

    SplitStream

    Three Worlds Apart

    Dance Theater Workshop hosts the confluence of three globetrotting choreographers, in their noted platform for emerging artists.

    By ELEANOR BAUER
    Offoffoff.com

    The first of this year's SplitStream series at DTW (SplitStream #1), featured the geographically diverse work of globetrotting choreographers Osmany Tellez (born in Cuba), Ori Flomin (born in Israel, teaches throughout European contemporary dance schools), and Nia Love (traveled as a Fulbright Fellow throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America). Throughout the evening, the worldly perspectives brought to the stage by these New York-based artists were made apparent in very different ways.

      
    SPLITSTREAM
    Includes individual dances: "Descending Matter (Illusion course)"
    Directed by Osmany Tellez
    Performed by Astrud Angarita, Sigal Bergman, Rebecca Serrel and Osmany Tellez
    Music composed by Guy Yarden
    Costumes by Astrud Angarita
    Lighting by Chloe Z. Brown

    "command/shift/delete"
    Choreography by Ori Flomin in collaboration with the dancers
    Performed by Eric Bradley, Ori Flomin, Marc Iglesias Figueras, Osmany Tellez
    Music by Guy Yarden
    Costumes by Caitlin Cook
    Lighting by Chloe Z. Brown

    "Cycles of the Circle I (a work in progress)"
    Choreographed by Nia Love
    Music mixed down by Antoine Roney and Nia Love
    Performed by Shana Bloomstein, Byron Cox, Miri Park, Makeda Roney, Sarah Sibley, Kazue Yanekura, Juba Zaki
    Vocals by Lenora Zenzalai Helm
    Costumes by Smith College Dance Department
    Lighting by Chloe Z. Brown

    The non-linear, non-narrative structure of "Descending Matter" by Osmany Tellez gave a scattered, decentralized feeling to the work, as if Tellez — like protagonist Billy Pilgrim of Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five" — had become "unstuck in time." At first, the abstract vignettes, separated by frequent blackouts, were unsettling and almost frustrating, as if denying the audience entry into the piece. Once surrendered to the situation, one gathered from Tellez' choreography an inspiring freedom from the comfortable conventions of conflict, development, and climax. The seemingly incidental yet secretly organized nature of Tellez's modular compositional style communicated a certain realism, placing onstage a meandering sequence of events as they might occur in real life. Punctuated by serendipitous moments of physical support, unison, or simple visual acknowledgement between Tellez and the three women, the piece wavered between quirky chaos and perfect harmony in a relaxed, idiosyncratic and refreshingly inventive movement vocabulary. Beginning scattered and face-down on the floor, the four dancers in "Descending Matter" suggested in reversed and looping chronology the matter-of-fact way in which life's cards fall where they may.

    SplitStream  
    Working with more rigid lines and utilizing the Balletic facility of his dancers, Ori Flomin presented a meditation on how technologies developed to bring us together actually push us apart. To the collaged music of Guy Yarden that included the sound of a computer launching connection to the Internet and even a moment of Reggae, the four male dancers — Eric Bradley, Marc Iglesias Figueras, Flomin himself, and Osmany Tellez — began in isolation, coming and going one at a time. Narrow shafts of light marked the orthogonal pathways of each dancer in "command/shift/delete" as he journeyed into the darkened stage. The first duet presented in an overly demonstrative way their effort to engage one another: moving up and down the center line of the stage, the two men mirrored each other's movement, with less than a foot between them. A potentially beautiful moment, the dullness of its composition verged on immature when they mimed the boundary between them palm-to-palm. The piece also included redeeming moments of subtlety and irresistible displays of the dancers' refined technique, but the overall statement was both pedantic and predictable.

      
      The seemingly incidental yet secretly organized nature of Tellez's modular compositional style communicated a certain realism.
      
    Nia Love's piece, "Cycles of the Circle I" (a work in progress) combined an array of performing genres in a ceremonial fashion. Working with a rapper, a singer, a pre-schooler, a mature dancer, and a squad of four young modern dancers adorned in white chiffon, Nia Love conducted the piece not unlike a circus, with a large white chalk circle drawn in the center of the floor. Shana Bloomstein and Juba Zaki performed a duet inside the circle, archetypally joining youth and adulthood in a formal procession referencing African traditions. At one point Miri Park (one of the four enrobed in white) fell into a trance-like state of convulsion and continuous shouting in Korean, only to be pacified by a touch on the sternum by the child. The movement phrases by the four in white quoted break-dancing, modern dance, African dance, and questionably rhythmic gymnastics or competition jazz (when they executed a promenade with foot-in-hand above head). The rapper delivered rhymes on political and current affairs, as well as broad, sweeping spiritual messages, expanding further the range of topics bumping against one another in the piece. With a small army of performers, working in different modes of communication, Nia Love's multi-cultural epic brought a lot to the table without helping us sort through it.

    A notable venue for established experimental choreographers, DTW's SplitStream always excels at presenting three strongly different artistic perspectives, resulting in an evening with something worth pondering for everyone.

    NOVEMBER 18, 2003
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on SplitStream:

  • correction   from Ori Flomin, Nov 26, 2003
  • corrections   from MiRi Park, Jan 28, 2004

  • Post a comment on "SplitStream"