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    2018-2019 reviews:



    A dance of inner demons

    Tiffany Mills gives a trilogy of "Goetia," an excerpt of the work-in-progress "Godard," and "Elegy" at Joyce SoHo.


    Mills' "Goetia," "Godard," and "Elegy" compliment each other with polished costuming and decor, a consistent musical aesthetic, and the dancing's confident energy. Though essentially earthbound, the movement contains drama and spring.

    Choreography by: Tiffany Mills.
    Dancers: Jeffrey Duval, Laura Hymers, Jared Kaplan, Tiffany Mills, Matsuhide Nakashima, Petra van Noort.

    Related links: Official site
    Joyce SoHo
    155 Mercer (btw. Houston and Prince)
    June 3-6, 2004

    Jennifer Choi's fine performance of John Zorn's violin solo for "Goetia" and the patterned lighting by Chris Hudacs, don't detract from the spirited and expressive movement of Mills and the assured quiet grace of Laura Hymers and the two excellent men. Exaggerated poses neatly befit Jared Kaplan's tall frame. Mills' signature ability is an incredibly limber upper body. But when the dancers look or gesture to each other, they seem to acknowledge their part in the contract that is this dance.

    In front of an abstract grid projected by Hudacs that calls to mind city blocks or ruins of a community, the dancers are in solid colored play clothes. Pizzicato movement reiterates Choi's sharp insistent plucking. Kaplan bounds on all fours seeming everywhere on the stage at once. The dancers have their way and have fun with the screeching sound. Occasional playful acrobatics and contact pushes are danced and well integrated. The range includes excruciating delicacy in Matsuhide Nakashima's shoulder stand where his legs and feet unfurl like a fern frond in a time-lapse view.

    The dancers are wild things that move to ferocious noises.  

    Mills states that in her dances, abstract movement inevitably refers to relationships. This seems most realized and unencumbered in "Godard," to the sampled sound of Tzadik. The visible fun continues in this excerpt; the full company thuds on and offstage, setting a beginning and end. Petra van Noort in a tight articulated little black dress swings over the hunched Jeffrey Duval in street clothes; they are partners in dysfunction. Nakashima and Kaplan perform deadpan sight gags in an inventive romp. Video is to be added to "Godard." In the energetic excerpt, sad truths alternate with much needed comic relief.

    "Elegy" cannot be watched disaffectedly the way one must sometimes pass homeless people on the street. In a repeating sequence: allegro/stop/slowly moving/and a single acrobatic, a propelling rhythm is sustained. The dancers are wild things that move to ferocious noises. When they rest on the floor in relaxed but quirky bent leg poses, we rest with them.

    In one long glove, Mills creates innovative asymmetrical tableaux. "Elegy's" Goth elegance is achieved in collaboration with costumer Lizzie Pickard's black and ecru eveningwear. Jarring cacophonic sound and glaring 'filmic' lighting are also familiar devices. Films like "The Shining" may have inspired "Elegy," but its high points are Jeffrey Duval's improvised performance of inner demons, and the fluid yet turgid partnering of van Noort and Nakashima. Spectators can drift off too in places where dancers mesmerize by sleepwalking through a sequence. But juxtaposed with Duval's spotlighted flailing and the twisted dysfunctional duet, the audience is sleepless.

    Ela Troyano's video is powerful accompaniment, though like Zorn's score, it does not call attention to itself. The shadowy projected image of dangling legs unequivocally points to an untimely end. One is not sure which element in this collaboration is the most circumstantial evidence.

    JUNE 11, 2004

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