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    From Leave Yourself at the door, Please! by Regina Nejman, 2003 in Fridays at Noon 12/17
    Photo by Julie Lemberger
    From "Leave Yourself at the door, Please!" by Regina Nejman, 2003

    Y stories

    The December 17th "Fridays at Noon" features three choreographers using 'narrative,' both fabled and quotidian.


    Friday at noon is not the usual time to go to a show, but you should. Fridays At Noon is a quiet showcase of unfinished but nicely polished works at the Harkness Dance Center of the 92nd Street Y. Amy Kail, the program director, organizes each grouping of three choreographers around a theme. The fall season ended December 17th with Regina Nejman, Sasha Spielvogel, and Maxine Steinman presenting dances that tell stories in very different ways.

    Choreography by: Regina Nejman;Sasha Spielvogel;Maxine Steinman.
    Includes individual dances: "The Velocity of Things" (excerpt- work in progress) Regina Nejman;"Cleave" Sasha Spielvogel; "Window Stories" (Excerpt) Maxine Steinman
    Music by: Mio Morales;Arne Nordheim, Anne Martin;Rene Aubry, Ryuichi Sakamoto.
    Production design by: Choreographers and dancers;Mario Ramo.
    Art direction by: Choreographers and dancers;Mario Ramo.
    Costumes by: Choreographers and dancers;Mario Ramo.
    Harkness Dance Center; 92 St.Y; December 17 at 12 pm; free

    Stylized hand gestures, masks and high-heel shoes open "The Velocity of Things." Nejman slinks on, vogueing. Turning to face us, she drops to an arch and rolls to a pose. Tamsin Nutter wiggles on after, both slinky in their layered clothing. It's not easy to modern dance in red heels. These party girls show us how, with precarious arabesque penche balances, before taking off their masks and shoes. Living in and bouncing off the electronic score of Mio Morales they jump, lunge, and fling arms and legs — telling their "kinetic story" as Nejman describes it in the post-performance discussion. True to their fun yet serious personalities, they place their hands in their shoes and "walk" in a simple circle.

    In "Cleave" Spielvogel casts Felicia Norton as a sensual and lithe Eve looking early-on as if she's ready for action. In a short green tunic by Mario Ramo, Norton writhes and swims, enjoying the feel of her bare arms and legs on the floor before she rises and revels in the space. She is in tune with the music by Arne Nordheim and Anne Martin, collaged by Spielvogel for this performance. After Eve's glistening solitude, the Serpent (Saar Harari) awakens and comes to cuddle. He reveals a golden apple. Eve and the apple get to know each other before The Bite. A loving duet, incorporating the apple as a third partner, ends. Eve walks away. The apple and the Serpent are left behind. Bare-chested and in red pants, this Serpent, is seductive; but this Eve shows her complicity without losing her naivety.

    Steinman says that "looking into apartment windows while standing on the subway platform" inspired "Window Stories." The narrative has a stop and start quality leaving room for the viewer's imagination. Tomomi Imai, Val Loukianovets, Columbine Macher and Mark Taylor walk on in everyday clothes: black cocktail dress, tan suit, brown suede fringe jacket, red pants and beret. They are people with no connection. Imai in the cocktail dress recalls a French movie ingenue longing for something.

    The music in this section, by Rene Aubry, suits Imai's flippant movements. She tosses her shoes high in the air while walking peg-leg style. Macher and Loukianovets drape over each other and walk like a caterpillar. The duet rolls, holds then lets go while Imai and Taylor watch; but the characters in "Window Stories" don't really see. A delicate score of rain and thunder by Ryuichi Sakamoto leads and follows. A more rhythmic score greets a second duet: Imai and Taylor tug at each other with tension. Spilling to the floor they make eye contact but still throw each other away. In his solo, Loukianovets dangles from a window conveniently center stage in the broad Harkness dance space. He almost jumps, but stays trapped in his window box pushing against the walls while his former partner watches. In the concluding quartet, relationships flip. People may pause to help, looking human for a moment, but in the end they hurry and bump away. The characters in this everyday story remain separate and distant.

    DECEMBER 31, 2004

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