The Wally Cardona Quartet, hailed by a drum line, plays with grating, gridded, graceful patterns in their new "Him, There, Them."
By LORI ORTIZ
Don't look for a pliŽ, arabesque or tour de force in Wally Cardona Quartet's evening length trilogy Him, There, Them. French words like magnifique and esprit de corps are more to the point. In the Quartet (a.k.a. WC4) familiar pedestrian movement is devotedly performed. Them is an out of body experience, with both dancers and spectators entranced.
Exceptionally musical, Cardona can dance to the cackle of static. His dancers generate percussive rhythms in rapid hand or other body movements; the beat is amplified when a sequence is set on a pair. The experience is not always auditory, but at times visual.
|HIM, THERE, THEM|
|Choreography by: Wally Cardona.|
Dancers: Wally Cardona, Joanna Kotze, Kathryn Sanders, Matthew Winheld.
Lighting design by: Roderick Murray.
Pianist: Cameron Grant.
Percussion coordinator: Thomas Lewis Brown.
|The Duke on 42nd Street|
229 West 42nd St.
March 17-21, 2004
Him opens with a bang. Thomas Lewis Brown's drum majors hail Cardona, who wrestles with cube pedestals; the white boxes accentuate his darker animated, hirsute soft curves and taut tendons. To the pounding beat he writhes and dives into the props, riveting spectators to his struggles with the unforgiving cubes. He ends with a burdensome block on his back.
The set/playroom is two area rug sized patches of fake grass arranged perpendicularly to two lengths of white vinyl sheeting extended up each sidewall of the stage like skateboarder's quarter pipe. The black floor is a sort of negative space of equal importance. There are no wings to hide behind. Instead dancers are confronted by their shadow images on the white vinyl. Both glorious and despicable states are expressed in There.
An earsplitting needle in spinning vinyl strangely soothes. The static is interspersed with live Brahms by virtuoso NYC ballet pianist Cameron Grant. WC4 is finely honed, and the volume of its generosity is at maximum.
| ||Even in tumbles they relate with respect or grace.|
The stark light (by Roderick Murray) and black and white attire of There evokes scenes of work and play. The dancers seem to bask on a sun drenched lawn patio; or they till the fields, occasionally looking up to pray or seek redemption. Exaggerated languid repose and grating gridded marches variegate There. All on stage, the dancers move in symbiotic orbits. Even in tumbles they relate with respect or grace. Kathryn Sanders floats as if in a dream wearing white separates with a large strawberry appliquŽd on the thigh of her short skirt. Cardona's tie is of the same pattern and fabric as his shirt. On Matthew Winheld's shirt, a tie is outlined. Joanna Kotze wears a trim knee length white skirt and sleeveless blouse with epaulets.
Sanders and Kotze can seem like mannequins in their cool beauty and poseur like movements. The technically astute WC4 deservedly gathers converts. Their artificiality is as purposeful as their task-based movements are purposeless. In There emotionless automatons run on the cattycornered quarter pipes.
Them is a duet of Sanders and Cardona. They circle for the kill, ending unexpectedly in a sort of fox trot to the lyrical music that is repeated thanks to the phono arm needle stuck in the record's groove. The tranced two make waves of the interminable tune, in a swirl of sexual magnetism, dressed in evening blue. At the spirals center they hold each other at arms length. The redeeming light in this Kafkaesque view is how beautiful the dance can be.
|MARCH 28, 2004|
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