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  •  REVIEW: COOL NY 2009

      Belinda McGuire in ADAR in Cool NY 2009
      Photo by Yi-Chun Wu
      Belinda McGuire in ADAR
    White Waves of Dance

    Cool NY 2009 keeps them coming


    Cool New York continues to be a small mid-level choreography series of mixed offerings and occasional suprises. The following is two different Saturday nights of the program in chronologic order.

    Suttlar Martin/4thrightdance showed Beyond the Design, danced to a mildly confusing and confused narration about reality and our (mis)perception of reality. A veiled figure seated and possibly strapped into a chair seems to refer to Abu Ghraib imagery, and a second veil added later gives a moment of beauty to the piece as well as another layer of obscurity. Movements of spinning, waving and scooping go well with ominous booming drums in music by Kenji Kawai.

    Belinda McGuire is impressive and dynamic in Hex, her solo of formal beauty and wide-ranging emotions. Music of choral voices and smooth strings by Gavin Bryars Incipit Vita Nov, subtle bluish lighting and a simple black dress give a soft and rich feel to the piece. McGuire's movement is also soft and rich, at times full of strife and flight and at times softly resigned and subdued.

    COOL NY 2009
    Choreography by: Suttlar Martin, Belinda McGuire, Donlin Foreman, Becky Radway, Angela M Gallo, Idan Sharabi, Heidi Latsky, Young Soon Kim, Cari Cunningham, Allison Vinai, Yin Yue, Amos Pinhasi, Aimee Rials, Jessica DiMauro, Darcy Naganuma.
    Dancers: Suttlar Martin: Marisa Ballaro, Eve Chalom, Erin Holmes, Rebecca Lloyd-Jones, Tashara Gavin-Moorehead, Sarah Navarrete, Julia Planine-Troiani, Bennalidra Williams
    Belinda McGuire
    Donlin Foreman and Jennifer Emerson Foreman
    Becky Radway: Leonides Arpon, Maureen Damaso, Jessi Patz, Becky Radway, Meryl Thurston
    Angela M Gallo
    John Beasant III and Belinda McGuire
    Heidi Latsky: Meredith Fages, Jillian Hollis, Jenny Rocha
    Young Soon Kim: Yin Yue, Benjamin Degenhardt and Pascal Benichou and Young Soon Kim
    Cari Cunningham with Eve Allen, Alli Richardson, Angela Ritchie, Jessica Troppman
    Allison Vinai and Kelly Collins
    Yin Yue: Lori Byargeon, Clare Cook, Tzu-ying Lee, ChristinaNoel Reaves
    Amos Pinhasi
    Aimee Rials and Melissa Beck
    Jessica DiMauro with Annie Doss and Krystina Miller
    Naganuma: Mallory Butcher, Michele Jongeneel, Charly Wenzel, Nile Russell, Yoshinori Ito, Justin Lynch, Maegan Woodlin, Yung-li Chen
    Music by: Kenji Kawai (Martin), Gavin Bryars Incipit Vita Nov (McGuire), Jeffrey Smith (Yue).
    Lighting design by: Adrianna Desier Durantt.
    White Wave John Ryan Theater
    January 29 to February 8, 2009

    Not Our Only Life is a fresh and tender take on the changing emotions of a married couple and the subtle repulsions and attractions in an apparently healthy relationship. Donlin and Jennifer Emerson Foreman (On Common Ground) dance this piece smoothly and beautifully, removing any initial wonder at their obvious age difference.

    Roam by Becky Radway Dance Projects roams through what feels like several pieces in one. A somewhat slouchy trio of women wearing rich fabrics moves pretty and sad to happy guitar music. A solo with much more presence and vigor gives way to a duet and another solo to Philip Glass-like horn music. Elements of crocheted fabric and deep colors and widely varying dancers give the piece a strangely warm and lush but disjointed feel, as does a friendly group departure to fading light.

    Contradictions of Woman by Sapphire Moon Dance Company/Angela M Gallo is an interesting, pretty, slightly troubled piece that hews close to its title. Gallo begins seated with her bare back to the audience and slowly builds to larger movements and risks, playing with the impulse to exhibit and hide her body, with ugly black tape x'd across her breasts and a softly flowing and overlong pair of pants.

    ADAR is a softly violent duet of conflict danced by John Beasant III and Belinda McGuire, to piano music by Chopin, choreographed by Idan Sharabi. Both dancers are powerful movers, soft and quick even through huge movements, as if moved by a force outside themselves. The piece ranges from cute, with McGuire peering over and around something with head movements that match each piano note, to strange, with big Russian knee-walking and floppy somersaults, to combative. McGuire wears her dance warrior cred on her bleeding knee by the end of the piece, with wisps of hair around her sweat-misted face giving her the air of an angel or the scrappy ingenue she seems to be.

    Jennifer Emerson Foreman and Donlin Foreman in Cool NY 2009
    Photo by Yi-Chun Wu
    Jennifer Emerson Foreman and Donlin Foreman

    Luxxury Suite by Heidi Latsky is a brilliant trio of slinky, violent and darkly hip solos with a 1980s vibe (black, ribbons and lace) enhanced by '80s-sounding music by Luxxury. Jillian Hollis gives a high-horsepower turn first, with flinging red hair and big movements. Meredith Fages attacks an improbably fast and sharp full-throttle ballet spinner and blows it away. And Jenny Rocha ends with a looser, more organic solo that keeps the flow going.

    Two duets by Young Soon Kim end the first evening, both with men wearing women in implied romance. The first, with Yin Yue and Benjamin Degenhardt, mainly showcases Yue's beautifully articulated limbs, hands and feet, with some pillar-climbing giving the piece its title of On the Wall. The second, danced by Kim and Pascal Benichou, feels a bit more emotionally connected and features Kim running, leaping and twisting around Benichou in dramatic catches and lifts.

    The piece with a toy train and battery-powered lights that women turn on and off and collect, Couchette, by Cari Cunningham/belle contemporary dance, is also notable for a grating soundtrack that dwells on two notes.

    A duo of women in velvet, Accidentally, is langorous and lovely, and poor sync between choreographer Alison Vinai and Kelly Collins doesn't detract as much as it would if it weren't being danced to Tom Waits' music.

    Yin Yue's dynamic Persona feels tribal and primal. A soundtrack of rhythmic breathing, sighs and moans gives it a visceral edge, and strong dancing gives it good energy. There is strong flux between chaos and unity, and both have their moments before an abruptly naked ChristinaNoel Reaves dances an explosive solo that cuts to the core of our human-animal juggliing act. This is a fascinating piece, with what feel like packs of dogs or monkeys, sacrificial altars, orgies and madness as well as basic human kindness and cooperation.

    A typically minimal Amos Pinhasi solo, Mediterneo, with a conch shell, seems like the polar opposite of the piece before. It is coy, cute, mild and dry.

    Aimee Rials' These Barriers is a sweet depiction of lovers' struggle, often slow, gentle and silent but full of powerful and smooth contact partnering, danced really well here by Rials and Melissa Beck.

    Mourning After by Jessica DiMauro opens with shimmering strings and a yoga pose and has a definite Indian/Egyptian feel, like peaceful heiroglyphs or Indian art in motion. Intriguing music by Nico Muhly helps, too. It's pretty but somehow slightly lacking.

    Tower of (Wo)man by Naganuma Dance is more a tower of Babel but features a strong solo by Yung-Li Chen and crisp partnering and lifts by Nile Russell. Verbal abuse in several different languages and fabric neck rings on men just seem odd. Lighting and music give it a general dark, ominous feel, and plenty of physical movement and big lifts give it murky intent.

    FEBRUARY 9, 2009

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