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  •  REVIEW: TREATS, TREASURES, LITTLE PLEASURES

      Jeanine Durning in A Good Man Falls in Treats, Treasures, Little Pleasures
      Jeanine Durning in "A Good Man Falls"
    A tasty array of dances and space oddities

    Dancenow/NYC's new series, "Treats, Treasures, Little Pleasures" showcases a refreshingly wide scope of choreographers to the pleasure of an open minded and tipsy audience at Joe's Pub.

    By ELEANOR BAUER
    Offoffoff.com


    Dancenow/NYC has been showcasing the work of emerging and semi-established New York choreographers for the past ten years with their Fall Festival. More recently, Dancenow/NYC launched their Winter/Spring Urban Space Series at Joe's Pub in four installments, each presenting a different mix of choreographers and performers, and each with a different host.

    TREATS, TREASURES, LITTLE PLEASURES
    Choreography by: David Neumann, Keely Garfield, Barry Blumfield, Nicholas Leichter, Chris Elam, Karinne Keithley, Pat Catterson, Azure Barton, Jeanine Durning, Todd Williams & Antonio Ramos.
    Produced by: Tamara Greenfield and Robin Staff.
    Lighting design by: Kevin Hardy.
    Production Assistant: Nicole Wolcott.

    Related links: Official site
     SCHEDULE
    Public Theater
    425 Lafayette St.
    March 5-6, 2004

      
    David Neumann took the reigns on Saturday March 6th, framing a delightful array of performances with his stand-up comedy turned performance art. Humbly and humorously, Neumann garnished the evening with "poems" comprised of embarrassing Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush quotes, eventually culminating in an "(un)known (un)knowns" musical tribute accompanied by Karinne Keithley on ukulele and falsetto vocals. Neumann gave two solo performances of his own quirky, rhythmic, pantomimic choreography throughout the evening, eating off of audience members' plates and adding a layer of commentary to the lyrics of Tom Waits and the Flamingos.

    It seemed Keely Garfield was the unofficial second host of the evening, returning three times throughout with partner-in-crime Rachel Lynch-John to explore the illustrative capacity of toilet paper as pom-pom or bridal veil in a sectional narrative about two competitive sisters. Also a recurring figure, production assistant Nicole Wolcott kept us entertained between pieces as she sprinted about in the dark, tossing comments and greetings at the audience.

    Tap-dancing Barry Blumenfeld had to fight for attention with cellist James Jacobs who, albeit an interesting musician, made a performance of his antics (rattling and banging his cello case and swatting his bow at things besides the cello strings) that pulled most of the focus. In choreography by Nicholas Leichter, Claire Byrne appeared in a pinstripe suit and blackface-reminiscent overdrawn lipliner, performing a jerky, astoundingly articulate, and dramatic dance/lip-sync of Bone Thugs 'n' Harmony while emotionally unraveling and shedding layers of clothing. Christopher Elam's quartet "Misnomer" featured his shapely amorphous anatomical illusions and awkward physicalizations of sexual/emotional longing to a soupy East-meets-West musical score by David Darling. Karinne Keithley graced the stage with a minimalist neo-folkdance to the Gordon Highlanders bagpipe ensemble that stood apart as neither cabaret/burlesque nor modern dance. In a completely singular way, Keithley's fullness of presence and clarity of intent tend to validate and enliven anything she performs.

      
      Durning's bizarre and imaginative theatricality gives the viewer a fantastical sense of disorientation and total intrigue.
      
    In "Scene Six from 'Crowd Pleaser'" by Pat Catterson, Michele Golden Curtis flaunted her impressive extensions in a skimpy black dress, as Pascal Rekoert performed a jig of moral dilemma before shooting her. Unfortunately, there stood a point at which the dancers' good looks ceased to distract me from the uni-dimensionality of the "scene". Contrastingly, William Briscoe managed to seduce us all with his deliciously sinuous movement in a solo by Aszure Barton that needed neither plot nor props for motivation.

    Space oddity Jeanine Durning nailed the best of both worlds with her "A Good Man Falls" excerpt, sliding seamlessly between dance and narrative. Durning's bizarre and imaginative theatricality gives the viewer a fantastical sense of disorientation and total intrigue, as in the films of Terry Gilliam or the stories of Kurt Vonnegut.

    In a grande finale entitled "Maniac," Todd Williams and Antonio Ramos performed a wild and unabashed cross-dressed Flashdance that sprawled into parodies of neurotic or washed-up dancers of all forms (or at least all that wear leg warmers and leotards). Anybody can buffaw around, but few can make it this fun to watch. Overall, the evening encompassed a refreshingly wide scope of choreographers. In addition to how nice it was to see extremes being pushed in such a variety of directions, it was also great to see everyone having fun and giving their all, to a generally receptive and open-minded (tipsy) audience.

    The DancenowNYC Urban Space Series will return to Joe's Pub on May 7 & 8 and June 4 & 5, so there is time yet "get a cosmo with your choreography" if you haven't yet. For more details about Dancenow/NYC, visit www.dancenownyc.org.

    MARCH 15, 2004
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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