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      Leah Cox in Clip in 2005 D.U.M.B.O Dance Festival
      Leah Cox in "Clip"
    30 Highlights

    Unique quality and excellence found under the Manhattan Bridge in this years D.U.M.B.O Dance Festival.


    The quality of the choreography and performance is significantly higher each year, but the seating chaos is also growing in the tiny John Ryan Theater at White Wave where most of the pieces are shown. Perhaps in the future the D.U.M.B.O Dance Festival can adopt similar seating and ticketing policies to Dance Now, another formerly chaotic festival that now runs smoothly. These 30 of 57 viewed pieces stuck out for their unique quality and excellence, in chronologic order.

    Curator: Young Soon Kim/WHITE WAVE.
    John Ryan Theater at White Wave 25 Jay St. Brooklyn October 13-16

    "Stolen" — Natasa Trifan Performance Group: With only bagpipey snake charmer music and a 6-inch white ring in a 6-foot circle of light, Trifan dances a clean and conceptually pure solo with just the right edge of suspense.

    "Clip" — Leah Cox: Cox is an impressive dancer who pulls off a melange of movement styles with the simple voiced-over philosophy "if it doesn't fit, why can't I use it because it delights me?" Indeed. She can.

    "Retreat" — Ryuji Yamaguchi: A tensely complicated yet simple solo with one powerful fan and no music, pulled off through explosive and gentle wrestling/martial arts movement, ending with the statement "I can stop this."

    "In Your Absence" — Abraham: Eight dancers move very fast and very fluidly with fleeting moments of dance coitus among the four couples. There's much stylized writhing and kaleidoscopic motion. Very good stuff.

    "Wake Up" — Kaoru Ikeda: Ashley Brown and Erick Valck give what could be the festival's most refreshingly heart-warming performance in this perfectly realized dance in which momentary self-absorption temporarily derails the domestic bliss of a young couple in love. It's like a good Doug Varone piece but funnier.

      Rob Davidson in LOTUS in 2005 D.U.M.B.O Dance Festival
      Rob Davidson in "LOTUS"
    "Lines" (excerpt) — Li Chiao-Ping: This compact and satisfying self-narrated solo features good floorwork in a memoir of childhood experiences with racial integration, math, and using an abacus to bond with her mother.

    "Mating Dance" — Kinetic Architecture: A wonderfully silly faux-documentary on the mating habits of birds, featuring Shannon and Rob Davidson, he in only a black tutu and nipple rings and she sporting much cleavage.

    "LOTUS" (excerpts) — Kinetic Architecture: Butoh-powdered Rob Davidson does beautifully calm acrobatics on 2 wooden chairs in a solo with a strong spiritual, offering-to-God feeling.

    "Inspiraciones Melancolicas (a ti)" — Augusto Soledade: Soledade is a wonderfully smooth mover who uses African isolations against beautiful opera music in a masterful solo.

    "Winds of Change" — Filos Tanz: A calmly stoic, then sharply suffering man and 2 swarming, fretting women flirt with melodrama but remain powerful throughout this Frida Kahlo/Mexican-feeling piece.

    Slow-motion intergenerational krumping, yo...with women in their 60s getting to know their hip-hop selves...  

    "Amantes (Lovers)" — Carlos Fittante: Fittante pushes the edges of the disturbing and beautiful, wearing only a fixed-expression woman's mask, long wig and long skirt.

    "Beside Yourself" — Amy Schnelle: Strong, quick and sharp, confrontational and synchronous, with physical and emphatic dancing by Schnelle and Kiley Durst.

    "SPECIAL" — Alison Clancy: This in-your-face romp about sex, boys and girls, and all those messy questions that come up in the process, is very funny, bright and loud.

    "Stages" (excerpt) — Daniela Hoff: Hoff wrings emotion out of herself and through her very articulate hands in passionate and artful writhing, with a good mix of spinning floorwork and slow, prone rising and falling.

    "Negotiating Passage" — Red Shift Dance: Kelly Hayes and Katy Orthwein give us a really clean, strong, in-touch, well-matched contact and partnering performance.

    "Tesseract" — Janessa Clark/KILTERBOX: Riveting quartet of smoky, lithe and athletic dancing to grooving music with wonderful smoothness and tension throughout. This piece is the full package, wholly integrated.

    "Walk-Up" — Naomi Goldberg-Haas: Slow-motion intergenerational krumping, yo. Really cute in a good way, with women in their 60s getting to know their hip-hop selves and those in their 20s playing supporting roles.

      SPECIAL by Alison Clancy in 2005 D.U.M.B.O Dance Festival
      "SPECIAL" by Alison Clancy
    "Self Service" — Nina Winthrop and Dancers: Joanna Kotze nails this odd, bird-like solo full of flitting and skittish movement curiously broken up by slow high-jump-approach entrances.

    "Heart Piece II" — Brendan McCall: This is a wide-gamut piece about offering one's heart to another, with a harshly comic intro and a glowing, sincere ending.

    "Desires" (excerpts) — Donna Scro Gentile/Freespace Dance: A crowd-pleaser, with three same-dressed women partnered by three bare-chested men doing huge lifts and long carries, a bit scary and highly stylized.

    "Green Woman" (excerpt from "Lux Etaerna") — Karola LŸttringhaus: In an intriguing, green-lit solo a beautiful, insane witch has body parts that have minds of their own. LŸttringhaus' strong performance helps.

    "Short, Long, Forever" — Jin-Wen Yu: Masculine solo against beautiful female opera singing. Yu is virtuosic and gymnastic, fully present throughout, moving with soft fluidity and big, springing leaps.

    "Nigun" (excerpt), NOA Dance/Nelly van Bommel, ended the Saturday evening performances. This is a haunting, violent, beautiful piece, with five women entering silently like ghosts or hunted and haunted urchins, melting slowly through one another; each confronts the audience. They soon proceed to long, fast passages of percussive foot-stamps, breaths and slaps that stay sharply in synch throughout, full of self-destructive cutting and stabbing gestures, powerful and deep.

    Cox's simple voiced-over philosophy is "if it doesn't fit, why can't I use it because it delights me?"  

    "POW" — POW! A group of animŽ Power Puff/Power Rangers girls in bright latex and vinyl attack the stage in this superbly silly piece of coy sexuality and grrl power with a cute Japanese soundtrack.

    "Tenebrae" (excerpt) — tompricedance: a beautiful piece of dancing monks and singing priestesses with Rosemary's Baby overtones at the outset. Excellent performances by all enhance this rich work.

    "Tiny Matters: — Rocha Dance Theater: Christine Poland inhabits a vain, Victorian-wigged and powdered caricature who loses every shred of dignity trying to remove a tiny spot from her parlor table. It's funny, too, that this completely frustrated character continues weeping and sniveling even after the lights come up, ignoring the audience as she makes her exit.

    "the paper-cutter/Herr M" — Ani Weinstein, is an unpredictable piece of absurdist dance theater, with live accompaniment by a 'street performer' with a magical boombox and various instruments. A favorite bit is the serious man in the suit stapling papers using only his spotlit bare feet.

      POW! in 2005 D.U.M.B.O Dance Festival
    "JumpCut, excerpts b and c" — DanceTactics/Keith A. Thompson: four men of compact grace give a smooth, swinging performance full of Capoeira elements, lifts and energy. Constantly shifting groupings and solo bits keep this piece fresh and virile throughout.

    "I'm dragged!" — Dance On&Off: a butoh beginning full of slow contorted writhing and noises gives way to a very physical contact piece about struggle and attempted escape. Han Chang Ho and Kim Eun Jeong are accomplished contact performers.

    "The Weight" — Syren, was the final piece of the festival and possibly the finest piece of the festival. A rare find — the choreography and dancers actually make classical music feel enhanced, as if they are enlightening and energizing the music rather than following the music. This piece is alive with action and grace, thanks to the performances of Lindsay Clark, Chelsea Glassman, Isaac Gonyo, Lindsay Lee, Reba Mehan and Lynn Peterson, and to the choreography of Kate Mehan. Bravo.

    OCTOBER 24, 2005

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