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  •  REVIEW: RAW MATERIAL

    Alex Holmes using a Megan Mazarick gun in Raw Material
    Photo by Florence Baratay
    Alex Holmes using a Megan Mazarick "gun"

    Space Dust and Fake Drama

    DNA presents Raw Material

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com

    "Raw Material from DNA" sounds primordial and unformed, or promising. Both are true of the latest show, which included choreography by Megan Mazarick, Stephanie Sleeper, Anne Zuerner and Jenni Hong.

      
    RAW MATERIAL
    Choreography by: Jenni Hong, Megan Mazarick, Stephanie Sleeper, Anne Zuerner.
    Dancers: Mazarick: Megan Mazarick and Alex Holmes
    Stephanie Sleeper: Angela Helland, Jen Kosky, Sleeper
    Anne Zuerner: Karesia Batan and Romina Rodriguez-Crosta
    Jenni Hong: Cindy Chung Camins, Mee Ae Caughey, Courtney Drasner, Akiko Furukawa, Jenni Hong, Kristy Kuhn, Aya Shibahara
    .
    Lighting design by: Asami Morita.

    Related links: DNA | Mazarick
     SCHEDULE
    Dance New Amsterdam
    December 12-14, 2008

    Megan Mazarick's space-the-final-frontier obsession was all over the place in a good way in this early version of Ursula, a precursor to a possible evening-length show. Dance as art often rewards obsessive focus and plain obsession, especially if the obsession is tempered by humor. After a few minutes, realizing that the soundtrack would probably include every spacemovie and TV spaceshow theme song as well as every space-explorer song ever made became something to look forward to. The duo of Mazarick and Alex Holmes throw themselves into an absurd storyline with goofy fervor. Clever sound editing takes DNA from every spaceshow scenario and creates a humorous mutation. Simple, even crude, costumes add to the overall B-movie humor of the piece; watching bug-headed "astronauts" hanging onto their helmets with one hand so they don't spin off is funny in itself, like watching old Flash Gordon movies with primitive special effects and props. Ursula has the bones to become a bigger and better space monster.

    Mee Ae Caughey and Courtney Drasner in No Rice in Raw Material  
    Photo by Florence Baratay  
    Mee Ae Caughey and Courtney Drasner in "No Rice"
      
    Untitled Blue is an apt title for Stephanie Sleeper's piece. Blue is the only color in every prop and piece of clothing, for no particular reason. It is an attractive blue palette, but the impetus for the piece seems to start and end there. There is another space/fantasyworld vibe here with weapons and fake menace but none of the self-aware humor of the previous piece. Dancers Jen Kosky and Sleeper as naive ballerina-creatures look capable of dynamic movement but aren't required to do much, and Angela Helland moves very little. Other than blue props, there isn't much here yet.

    Anne Zuerner/The Roxanne Lola Movement Machine's piece arteries and drywall feels primordial but promising. Karesia Batan and Romina Rodriguez-Crosta make big moves through thick contact to oddly smooth, slow and soft music which never seems to match the physicality of the dancers. The effect is like dancing through molasses, even with strong dancing by the two, which is surprising coming from Zuerner, who is capable of lively theater and physical humor.

    Jenni Hong visits kung fu movie territory in No Rice, with an outnumbered Courtney Drasner and Kristy Kuhn fending off a gang of Asian women in stagey mock battle. The white women, in white, seem mostly impervious to their much more colorful antagonists, in a possibly satiric stab at an invincible Westerners vs. swarming Asians stereotype. The piece begins in high-energy mode and progresses into a much more sensuous, soft and slow place in which the two sides begin to mix a bit and even swap roles. There is humor here but also an overall vagueness, giving the piece a murky feel.

    Lighting design by Asami Morita gave plenty of color and depth to each piece as well, with an overall dark quality.

    DECEMBER 17, 2008
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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