Fun and Darkness
| ||Photo by Eric Bandiero|
| ||Heidi Turzyn (foreground) and Daniela Hoff in "Talk to Me"|
finds a balance in Talk to Me
By QUINN BATSON
Soliloquy Solo for Two encapsulates much of the aesthetic of Daniela Hoff: there is a larger-picture narration sliced and diced in interesting sound design, accompanied and interspersed with string music and softly changing lighting; quick and light but often big movement, here by Hoff and a lithe Liza Austria; and a clever device, in this case two dancers dancing one solo simultaneously and somewhat differently, as two aspects of the same experience. This was the opening piece of an evening at Triskelion Arts, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, titled Talk to Me, which also included one piece by guest choreographer Daman Harun.
The second piece, Picture Book, doesn't feel as coherent and successful. Cutting disparate music into pieces for a sonic collage is fun in concept but ultimately seems mostly silly, and the dance duet about romance can't really keep up with the shifting bits of music.
TALK TO ME
|Choreography by: Daniela Hoff, Daman Harun.|
Dancers: Daniela Hoff:
with Liza Austria, Miranda Mikesh, Andrea Rossi, Heidi Turzyn
with Vincent McCloskey and Mimi Yin.
Lighting design by: Andrew Dickerson.
Plural Nounsss soundtrack: William Stone.
November 7-9, 2008
Plural Nounsss is Hoff's solo danced to George W. Bush plural noun snippets spliced together, originally presented with a projected video but even stronger here with no distracting visuals of a person now mostly from the past. The focus on Hoff also makes the piece more visceral and compelling, more a statement of pain and loss and of trying to wrest sense from a sometimes senseless time. This piece has more of the hard edge Hoff is also capable of, with athletic and frenetic slapping and falling.
After an intermission, Daman Harun danced his Looking with Closed Eyes trio with Vincent McCloskey and Mimi Yin, a nice complement to the rest of the evening, full of open-armed spinning and circular unfurling in soft black and white clothes, a combination of careful and quick. Yin's face was distractingly tense throughout, apparently more from a footing problem overheard after the show than anything else, but any intention of overall breeziness or ease of movement was lost.
The centerpiece Talk to Me went well, to finish the evening. This strong piece has been reconfigured and repopulated since its debut earlier this year, an interesting challenge that Hoff largely meets. Talk to Me is a rich piece, full of interesting staging choices using only folding chairs and five dancers, with plenty of drama and physical interaction with the chairs and the floor and with other dancers in contact-filled duets. There is good ebb and flow as well, driven both by choreography and musical choices (primarily Steve Reich with Philip Glass and Dimitri Shostakovitch). The ending builds in intensity from the moment all five seated dancers bump their chairs downstage to the edge of the audience, confronting us at intensely close range, really effective in the small theater of this evening, until ultimately they spread themselves across the stage to finish with a dangerous series of falls in which each dancer crashes dramatically to the floor all the way from standing on the chair seat, over and over until blackout.
The range from danger to playfulness in the evening is refreshing, with neither heaviness nor levity being allowed to dominate. It is a trick to pull this off; Hoff clearly has a serious side but also enough clarity to keep that light at the end of the tunnel.
|NOVEMBER 13, 2008|
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Talk to Me"