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  •  REVIEW: DUMBO 2009

    Benjamin Degenhardt, Yin Yue, Emily Pope Blackman in SSOOT III in Dumbo 2009
    Photo by Yi-Chun Wu
    Benjamin Degenhardt, Yin Yue, Emily Pope Blackman in SSOOT III

    Dumbo Dances On

    Dumbo Dance Festival 2009 keeps the faith

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com

    The 2009 Dumbo Dance festival continues to serve its main purpose of showcasing young and emerging choreographers, but the series may be wearing a little thin. The proportion of really exciting works, at least in the four hour-long segments reviewed here, seems smaller than in past years, though at the same time, there were fewer "dogs" as well. Without commenting on every piece seen, the following made an impression.

      
    DUMBO 2009
    Choreography by: Patricia Noworol, Lauri Stallings, Young Soon Kim, Marissa Maislen, Heather Gehring, Artis Smith, Yin Yue, Emily P. Blackman, Kyla Barkin, Danielle Russo.
    Dancers: Patricia Noworol: Nicholas Bruder, Faye Lim, Christina Noel Reaves, Elliott Reiland
    gloATL: Virginia Coleman, Sarah Hillmer, Nicole Johnson
    SSOOT: Emily Pope Blackman, Benjamin Degenhardt, Yin Yue
    Livanna Company: Elizabeth Wheeler Hughes, Joori Jung, Marissa Maislen, Ashley Marinelli, Morgelyn Tenbeth-Ward
    Gehring Dance: Corey Bliss, Heather Gehrig, Jamie Harrison, Jessica Speer
    Artis Smith: Bilqis Benu, Anna Fantalina, Maki Hasui, Anita Lewis, Ernesto Mancebo, Jackie Rosenthal, Tashana Samuel, Robyn
    Yin Yue
    Emily P. Blackman
    BARKIN/SELISSEN: Kyla Barkin and Aaron Selissen
    Danielle Russo: Christina Noel Reaves
    .
     SCHEDULE
    White Wave Theater
    September 25-27, 2009

    Friday, 8 pm: Patricia Noworol's For Four is a dramatic quartet of great range, starting in soft music and slow movements and ending in silence after really big music and jumps and falls, with plenty of substance in between. The music by Zbigniew Preisner is wonderful, enhanced by operatic voicings from ChristinaNoel Reaves.

    gloATL is onto something in plum, with a lovely trio in black underthings doing soft and booming sexy to music by Ritcher Cash, apparent musical cousin of Johnny.

    In a pleasant surprise, Young Soon Kim's pieces to end the evening were both strong, with SSOOT II: On the Wall a virtuosically curving and twisting Yin Yue going around and through Benjamin Degenhardt in a solid duet of precarious balances, and then a whole new energy in SSOOT III: Shift, a trio of flavor danced by Yue, Degenhardt and Emily Pope Blackman to otherwordly percussively melodic live music by Marco Cappelli on some guitar-shaped contraption of his own design, full of springs and metal and played by fingers and sticks.

    Aaron Selissen and Kyla Barkin in Et Tu in Dumbo 2009  
    Photo by Yi-Chun Wu  
    Aaron Selissen and Kyla Barkin in "Et Tu"
      
    Saturday, 2 pm:

    Marissa Maislen's highly wrought Sky Burial was impressive because the five dancers performed the entire physically demanding piece in silence rather than with the music they had been expecting to hear, due to a technical mistake.

    Gehring Dance Theater gets props for risky and bold partnerings and one-foot lunges amidst a fusion of yoga, capoeira and contact work set to music by Nine Inch Nails, a refreshing change of pace from plenty of perfectly good dancey dance preceding it, performed in t-shirts and jeans. The first duet by Heather Gehring and Jamie Harrison is especially crisp.

    Artis Smith's Danger Waters is also impressively different enough from normal, with swinging/slicing floating jumps and beautifully silent landings to music with elements of chanting and Africa. An early duet with an especially light and airy female jumper sticks out, but a quality of lightness and ease permeates all the dancers.

    Sunday, 4 pm:

    Yin Yue gave the gem of this hour, with a solo of enormous and explosive turmoil that begins and ends in a state of exhaustion, perfectly titled Torn. Whipping waves of contractions look strong enough to tear apart her body; the pain implied is frightening and utterly human.

    Sunday, 5 pm:

    BARKIN/SELISSEN steal this show with a male/female duet of impeccable clarity, with big, quick contact tricks and excellent acting and partnering. The title, Et Tu, gives a quick synopsis of this story of a boy and a girl. NICE.

    Solos by Emily P. Blackman to open the show and Christina Noel Reaves to end the show also deserve mention. Blackman's is a deft synthesis of music and dress and dance, and Reaves', choreographed by Danielle Russo, is beautifully tortured and ultimately sad.

    OCTOBER 1, 2009
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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