|Photo by Steven Schreiber|
|Lawrence Cassella; Anna Carapetyan; Katie Workum; Mindy Nelson|
God and Country
Ivy Baldwin wanders through history, religion and conformity
By QUINN BATSON
The era of the 50-minute dance piece is now in full bloom, and Ivy Baldwin may have helped start the trend. Bear Crown lets time stretch at its beginning and end, and it is never in a hurry. In the middle, humor competes with coldness and violence, and what is a sparse but beautiful stage-world becomes by the end a sparse and darkly ominous place.
A strange, for DTW, grand curtain greets the audience and stays put for an improbably long time as the piece begins, with vaguely classical music full of distant cannon shots and allusions to the past. When the curtain does open, a single figure moves as an Egyptian hieroglyph, arms raised in the characteristic elbows-bent, hands-to-the-sky position, one leg dragged behind the other in a slow, deliberate but random progression. The sole structure onstage, a three-tiered semi-circular golden dais against the back wall, also gives the piece an ancient, monumental feel.
|IVY BALDWIN: BEAR CROWN|
|Choreography by: Ivy Baldwin.|
Dancers: Ivy Baldwin, Lawrence Cassella, Anna Carapetyan, Mindy Nelson, Katie Workum.
Sound design by: Justin Jones.
Set design by: Mendel Rabinovitch.
Costumes by: Alice Ritter.
Lighting design by: Chloe Z. Brown.
|Dance Theater Workshop|
March 26-29, 2009
At the same time, there is an intentionally artificial feel to everything in Bear Crown. Human interactions are limited to "no, really, thank YOU" competitions and presumably fake praise and declarations of love. This all starts humorously as Lawrence Casella opens a dialog with the others by praising their various bear-related items and inquiring where they got them in a strange, stylized call and response.
The cast of Ivy Baldwin, Anna Carapetyan, Casella, Mindy Nelson and Katie Workum is impressively odd and earnest, playing everything straight to the point of emotional deadness. There may or may not be an emotional/love triangle between Casella, Baldwin and Nelson, but by the time Workum begins ruthlessly shoving Carapetyan into walls and onto the floor while the others stand by impassively, it is clear that the larger group will dispense with emotion entirely, a chilling thought.
The mysterious dais gradually becomes an object of worship or an altar. As the lighting becomes colder and darker, the group goes through a strange period of limbo before it finishes in near-darkness, with all balanced on a knee and a foot, facing the darkened dais.
|APRIL 7, 2009|
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