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    Suspicious of Anything Unattended

    Success in the abstract

    Three choreographers present short dances with an ensemble of thirteen in "Suspicious of Anything Unattended," at Cunningham Studios.


    Three recent graduates from SUNY Purchase present "Suspicious of Anything Unattended." Choreographed and produced by Miriam Wolf, Natalie Green, and Anna Carapetyan, the program consists of six dances and one poem. I enjoyed the brevity of each of the pieces, but the arrangement of short works all choreographed by different individuals one after the other reminded me of a university dance concert. While there is an out of school feeling to the work, I was struck by the heart, soul, and passion of these three young women. The evening proved an ambitious exploration by a group of distinct individuals whose development will be exciting to watch.

    Choreography by: Anna Carapetyan, Natalie Green, Miriam Wolf.
    Produced by: Anna Carapetyan, Natalie Green, Miriam Wolf.
    Dancers: Anna Carapetyan, Charlotte Gibbons, Natalie Green, Stacy Grossfield, Lindsay Lee, Naomi Luppescu, Reba Mehan, Ellie Moore, Leah Morrison, Lynn Peterson, Candice Schnurr, Joan Wadopian, and Miriam Wolf .
    Set design by: Rod Malin.
    Lighting design by: Carolyn Wong.
    Merce Cunningham Studio
    55 Bethune Street, 11th Fl
    Dec. 11-12, 2004

    I enjoyed most the work that's open enough to allow me to enter my own interpretation and have a personal experience as a viewer, like "CLOSEd Two" and The "Periphery" choreographed by Green. These two works, the most mature in their content, marry full-bodied movement and abstract gesture in a sophisticated fashion. While hinting at deeper meaning and juxtaposing the performers' solidarity with individual agendas (in the duet), they don't tell me what to feel but rather guide me to fantasize. This sensibility seemed more successful than the more literal pieces; "Me" and "What We are Told" pantomime song lyrics in emotion and/or gesture. I especially gravitated toward the clear and focused dancing of Miriam Wolf and Anna Carapetyan in "CLOSEd Two." The dancers spin literally and figuratively in and out of connection with one another. In a crescendo at the end of the piece they slam against each other and fall to the floor, expressing their fatigue in occupying the same space yet missing a true bond.

    Works by Green don't tell me what to feel but rather guide me to fantasize.  

    The ensemble of thirteen is clearly together and committed to the content of each work. They exhibit a range of style and maturity in their performance presence. The three choreographers are most engaging, presenting themselves with integrity and making choices that seem to resonate deeply for each of them. Some of the performers add drama to their delivery and shadow their contemporary movement with dancing from the jazz cannon. A jazz dance atmosphere is also created by the music selections. This stimulates a range of questions.

    When does a performer give too much to the audience and consequently appear needy of attention? Is an integrated performer one who trusts that the audience is already with them, settling into their own experience of dancing and not feeling like they have to 'show' what they are feeling? The choreographers seem most empowered, along with Leah Morrison and Charlotte Gibbons, embodying the work in their own personal ways. Their grounded and fierce dancing combined with a human and vulnerable presence was moving to witness.

    I look forward to continuing to watch the choreographers as they deepen their process of making work. It is evident that they are asking themselves relevant, important and intriguing questions about performance and that they will only grow with time.

    DECEMBER 25, 2004

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