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    Claire Porter in Dancemopolitan 2009
    Photo by Steven Schreiber
    Claire Porter

    Movement Stories and Musical Dance

    Dancemopolitan at Joe's Pub tells Musical Tales


    The Dang-it Bobbys music group was an odd but fitting host for a Dancemopolitan at Joe's Pub in which music or narrative often played a bigger role than movement. Appropriately, they opened the show with homey banjo-led music which was eventually joined by Zach Morris and Donna Ahmadi dancing a cute and countrified duet which involved lots of passing a water glass back and forth and howdy-do steps, sort of like illustrated music.

    Choreography by: Donna Ahmadi and Zach Morris, Tami Stronach, Mary Suk, Liz Beres and Elliott Reiland, Amy Larimer, Dorian Nuskind-Oder, Julian Barnett and Jocelyn Tobias, Christal Brown, Claire Porter.
    Music by: Kris Bauman and Luca Benedetti, Adam Matta, Ian Williams.
    Joe's Pub
    October 24, 2009

    Adam Matta, on the other hand, makes invisible music, creating a dense percussive soundscape from somewhere inside his mouth and body, with only a little help from recorded music loops and phrases. Only his timekeeping hand and an occasional deep breath show his role in the music, which rolls and flows from simple and spare to deep and intense. Tara O'Con and choreographer Tami Stronach danced interesting phrases but couldn't wrest the focus from Matta.

    QVC by Mary Suk delivers a deep intergenerational portrait via the shopping channel, an impressive feat for a woman on crutches. Suk delivers the piece in a matter-of-fact but moving monolog.

    Pavlov by Liz Beres and Elliott Reiland is a clever clever take on the ins and outs of dating and mating, with a bellhop bell dinging each time a red flag or faux pas comes out of the mouth of one side or the other in a boy/girl initial meeting. Often the same dialog begins two or more interactions before forking into different places each time. It is really well staged and timed, and the ending, with an offstage bell flagging them both, is hilarious.

    Jocelyn Tobias, Julian Barnett and Chris Powers in Dancemopolitan 2009
    Photo by Steven Schreiber
    Jocelyn Tobias, Julian Barnett and Chris Powers

    Swim by Amy Larimer is the same piece reviewed earlier for DanceNow Base Camp and has most of the same impact on the smaller stage of Joe's Pub.

    Wolf House by Dorian Nuskind-Oder, performed by Alison Clancy and David Herman, is an odd little piece with live guitar by Herman and singing and some alternately soft and crazy dancing by Clancy and walks around the audience by both. Clancy walks, stares and dances dramatically while dressed in very natural, pedestrian clothes and Herman even ventures into the balcony like a rockstar.

    Julian Barnett and Jocelyn Tobias surprise with Chris Powers in 1996, singing and playing a very musical duet with live loops by Powers. Who knew Julian Barnett could play guitar and sing, and that Jocelyn Tobias is equally as good at singing as she is at dancing? Really a good piece for Joe's Pub.

    Christal Brown wears invisible clothes for Wishes, a sharp and smart piece about verbal harrassment of women and those who work by those who may not. It has just the right notes of humor and bitterness and rings true to the end.

    But the tour de force of the evening comes from Claire Porter, who blows the house down with Happen Chance, a long, almost shaggy-dog story of her response to an acquaintance's asking her what she has been up to that is told more with gestures and movement phrases than words. Each character in the tale has their own gesture and pose, and by the end she has told an abstract but hilariously accurate tale that makes sense on many levels.

    NOVEMBER 4, 2009

    Reader comments on Dancemopolitan 2009:

  • 1996 with julian barnett, jocelyn tobias etc.   from Roy Grady, Nov 10, 2009

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