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    Addys Gonzalez and Jen Rosenblit in Fresh Tracks 2009
    Photo by Yi-Chun Wu
    Addys Gonzalez and Jen Rosenblit

    A Beautiful Mess

    DTW's 2009 Fresh Tracks doesn't disappoint


    The 2009 Fresh Tracks at DTW were all over the place, in a good way. Five of six grabbed and twisted the audience, and pushed it, usually in a good way.

    Choreography by: Adriane Lee, Devynn Emory, Jen Rosenblit, Sahar Javedani, Stacy Grossfield, Hilary Clark.
    Dancers: Rosario: Rebecca Arends, Pareena Lim, Oscar Reyes
    Devynn Emory/Beast Productions: Emory, Meg Foley
    Jen Rosenblit and the BottomHeavies: Vanessa Anspaugh, Lily Gold, Addys Gonzalez, Mary Reed, Rosenblit, Bessie McDonough-Thayer
    Sahar Javedani
    Stacy Grossfield: Kate Griffler, Grossfield, Cori Kresge, Ariel Polansky
    Hilary Clark: Clark, Larissa Velez
    Lighting design by: Vincent Vigilante.
    Video: Sahar Javedani.

    Related links: DTW
    Dance Theater Workshop
    January 22-24, 2009

    Public, by Rosario/Adriane Lee, has just the right mix of odd textures, beauty and humor. It is startlingly fresh but also quite short, like a teaser for a longer-length piece. Mysterious swishing in the dark that flows into spare but pretty piano notes by Erik Satie is a sonically brilliant intro. This softness and quiet later yields to clever electro reverse music that goes well with fresh movement and surprising disrobing by the trio of Rebecca Arends, Pareena Lim and Oscar Reyes.

    By the time the disrobing happens in Jen Rosenblit and the BottomHeavies' piece, nothing's shocking and it just seems natural. What begins with graceful, loping running by 3 different bodies in 3 different styles — one light, one heavy, one male — gradually becomes less and less predictable. By the time 3 other figures come out in black cowl dresses that cover their faces, it's clear that this is a slightly different but wonderfully loopy world onstage. There is humor and heavy lifting, gentle body crushing and a hard b-boy rap section. All the dancers hold their own, but the sections that stick are those danced between choreographer Jen Rosenblit and Addys Gonzalez. Both are sturdy but move well, and Jen is carrying some extra weight. An early theme of plastic pieces (dental x-ray holders?) as hoardable items gets plenty of laughs, especially a bit when Gonzalez lifts Rosenblit upside down and shakes her pieces out. Everlast and So Badly takes a while but makes every moment count.

    Rebecca Arendt, with Pareena Lim in background, in <I>Public</I> in Fresh Tracks 2009  
    Photo by Yi-Chun Wu  
    Rebecca Arendt, with Pareena Lim in background, in Public
    That's probably also true of oldscales, a duet of slow synchronized floorwork and opposition, choreographed by Devynn Emory and danced by Emory and Meg Foley. This is painstaking choreography, not for the action-lovers in the audience. It is also precise, fluid and interesting. 10 chairs line the sides of the stage, for others who never show or to be moveable props.

    What begins as a solo dance with recognizable Persian and Middle Eastern movements and energy — beautifully soft hands and wrists, long hair flung dramatically, lower body rooted like a tree — takes a big twist when Sahar Javedani suddenly speaks. "I love America" delivered happily and heartily first and then with more and more distress, sounds at first like "I love Emiko" in her heavily accented pronunciation. The poignancy of this shift is then hammered home with a really funny and half-confusing computer slideshow illustrating how Sahar, as a typical Iranian girl, is or wants to be "just like you." All the imagery is of Iran and Iranians, including, briefly, President Ahmadinejad ("how the fuck did he get in there" is Javedani's reaction). The whole piece occupies an area of comic limbo where it's never completely clear what is genuine and what is satirical, from the heavily accented English to the commentary to the dance solo itself, though clearly Javedani is one sharp woman. in the Middle, somewhat aggravated works well on multiple levels.

    Then there is Magic Under My Belt, Stacy Grossfield's quartet of poses and cuteness with no apparent trajectory. This just feels underdeveloped, even frivolous, and underaged in comparison to the rest of the evening.

    The final piece was the anti-dance dance of Hilary L. Clark, more of a cry for help than a dance but quite funny and self-skewering. Response time with help her out/take 357 goes down like a trial run and therapy session combined, with dancing straight out of Billy Elliott's chorus/classmates. Co-conspirator Larissa Velez is brilliant as the coach/narrator/uninvolved therapist. Like a Broadway musical, the singing bits outnumber the dancing and are often the most entertaining.

    JANUARY 26, 2009

    Reader comments on Fresh Tracks 2009:

  • Totally disagree about 1.   from , Jan 30, 2009
  • thank you, quinn batson   from Larissa Velez, Feb 15, 2009

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