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  •  REVIEW: LUCY GUERIN: STRUCTURE AND SADNESS

    Byron Perry counterweights others in Lucy Guerin: Structure and Sadness
    Photo by Yi-Chun Wu
    Byron Perry counterweights others

    Down Under Goes Over Well

    Lucy Guerin shows DTW Structure and Sadness

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com

    Though it's a diverse place, the New York City dance world has a certain flavor, so it's refreshing to taste something from the other side of the world. Lucy Guerin's Structure and Sadness comes from Australia, and from a different mindspace. Judging from who attended and how they reacted, the result intrigues a large cross-section of NYC dancers and choreographers.

      
    LUCY GUERIN: STRUCTURE AND SADNESS
    Choreography by: Lucy Guerin.
    Dancers: Kyle Kremerskothen, Laura Levitus, Kirstie McCracken, Byron Perry, Harriet Ritchie, Lee Serle.
    Music by: Gerald Mair.
    Lighting design by: Ben Shaw.
     SCHEDULE
    DTW
    October 1-3, 2009

    Six dancers spending most of twenty minutes building a stage-filling version of a bridge with on-ramps and a massive tower, for instance, is definitely a unique beginning to a dance piece set in DTW. Add low light and a soft haze of smoke and the structure seems both more abstract and more real, and the dancers become nearly invisible. Even knowing that the piece addresses a famous bridge collapse in Australia and hearing recorded radio commentators describing the accident doesn't detract from the impact of watching the whole deck of cards come crashing down slowly and inexorably.

    Though the bulk of the dance comes after the collapse, an intermediate section equally as odd and mesmerizing as the bridge-building involves lengths of steel and basic principles of gravity and mechanics illustrated by dancers. This is a piece that takes its time to develop and has layers of meaning and reference that are sometimes obvious and sometimes subtle enough to only register in retrospect. A woman 'ironing clothes' while listening to the radio takes us back to the reality of going from enjoying music one minute to hearing horrifying news the next. That her clothes are pieces of the bridge that has just collapsed just add that extra layer of meaning and abstraction.

    Byron Perry and Lee Serle in Lucy Guerin: Structure and Sadness
    Photo by Yi-Chun Wu
    Byron Perry and Lee Serle

    Add a scrimmed back wall of green neon tubes that look random at first and emerge through selective removal as a large representation of a bridge, to get another example of layering in meaning and in onstage activity which also takes its time to develop.

    Small sub-themes of women in black mourning and men working come and go smoothly, with a clever element of suspension engineering in the duets of two men attached via looped cords, balancing their weight against each other and playing with gravity and weight. The dancing, when it finally predominates, is clear and strong and soft. All-cast sections of male-female couples with the men stepping on the women (more structural and emotional references) and a group dancing mostly individually are memorable.

    One final and effective use of steel and bodies ends the show graphically and beautifully.

    OCTOBER 5, 2009
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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