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  •  REVIEW: RARA AVIS

    Rara Avis

    Extension and connection

    Rara Avis meets Loophole in an evening of integrated dance and music improvisation.

    By ANTONIETTA VICARIO
    Offoffoff.com

    On September 14th, 2004, three composers and three choreographers, billed as the Rara Avis meets Loophole sextet, performed at Roulette at Location One, a loft/ performance gallery on Greene St. This was one of those rare occasions where the formality of performance takes second place to an exploratory nature of the medium, and in this case, how two mediums (music and dance) dialogue through improvisation. The hour-long journey synthesized beautiful moments of serendipitous timing with the ordinary struggles of an overload of movement that never materializes into a cohesive creation. I was most struck by the ensembles bold choice to create an improvised performance with only one limitation; the music and dance exist together in space.

      
    RARA AVIS
    Dancers: Corrina Kalisz, Alison Robinson, Estelle Woodward, Jeff Arnal , Gordon Beeferman, Seth Misterka..
     SCHEDULE
    Location One
    26 Greene St. (btw. Grand and Canal)
    Sept. 14, 2004

    Despite a few moments of contact in the evening, an overarching movement theme for the choreographers became reaching out into space to find no end. Each individual remained steadfast to their personal agenda despite the proximal reality of the women's nearness in space, creating an absence of emotional or thematic material during the first half of the performance. The movements were motivated by pure personal desire, often based on distal initiations that projected long limbs through clear lines in space. This architectural and abstract orientation provided a wealth of interesting movement generation, but I yearned for more group connection and interaction. A little less than half way through the performance seemed the true beginning, when moments of collision between performers began to reorient their pathway.

    The beginning of a task oriented rhythmic section of falls to the floor established the first immediate association between the dancers and the musicians. As the performers pooled focus through a heightened awareness in rhythm, a unified clarity was established. Rhythm created variation and dimension to time sequences through fractioning, overlapping and stillness choices, crossing the improvisation into performance. The relief and organization of this section after the saturation of movements offered to find no reciprocal connection, established a common goal that began to bring the performers together. The rhythmic impulses evolved into series of spatial walking scores traveling in singular directions, layering the key elements of time and space into the work.


      
    Rhythm created variation and dimension to time sequences through fractioning, overlapping and stillness choices, crossing the improvisation into performance.  

      
    The richest part of the evening for me was Corrina Kalisz's acknowledgement of the voyeur like nature of this performance situation. While the intimacy of the space forced proximity of audience member to performer, I hoped for recognition of audience presence. Little eye contact had been made until Corrina's brilliant choice to stand at a column at the front of the performance space and sway back and forth focusing around the circumference of the room. Before this moment, I wondered if the "heightened" state of awareness, a major tenant of improvisation, actually retreated each performer into their own head space, focusing their attention inward cerebrally and consequently losing an outward sense of audience and performance. The esoteric "waiting to find the connection" suffered from a hesitation and caution when entering ideas and this daring choice of Corrina's opened up a new dimension. Her precision of movement, fullness of presence and clear attention to focus captivated my attention throughout the evening and especially at this moment when the prolific third wall was broken.

    Estelle Woodward captured this foreboding sense of voyeurism to create a compelling contortionist floor solo that manipulated articulate movements in new, exciting configurations. Her long-limbed, distal extensions reached beyond her physical body, opening up the space by sending energy beyond her literal body, creating a tension that filled the room. This tension invited interaction from the other performers and Alison Robinson's keen awareness of movement motifs met up with Woodward on many occasions in the evening to craft striking duets.

    Jeff Arnal (percission), Gordon Beeferman (electric piano) and Seth Misterka (alto saxophone), created rich, unified, and compelling musical scores. While the musicianship of the improvisers oozed with prowess, eloquently designing intriguing improvised pieces, these sophisticated collaborators remained safe while linking mediums together. Sometimes the music seemed to dictate the movement and other times the movement dominated the music, switching leader and follower in a traditional fashion. The pulse rarely existed simultaneously but the intent focus between the musicians and choreographers created a palatable and cohesive exchange.

    The artist's commitment to one another fostered a supportive and investigative environment for experimentation of original ideas. I am eager to follow the development of these highly skilled artists exploring a medium so rich and full of possibility.

    SEPTEMBER 23, 2004
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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