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    Courtney Drasner and Josh Palmer in <I>Moon Uprising</I> in New Dance Alliance: Performance Mix Festival
    Photo by Eric Bandiero
    Courtney Drasner and Josh Palmer in Moon Uprising

    Many Flavors in Soho

    New Dance Alliance presents Performance Mix Festival at Joyce Soho


    Eclectic and quirky are the first words that come to mind to describe an evening of the Performance Mix Festival that spreads itself over 2 weeks at Joyce Soho. There seems to be no unifying theme, but that seems to be no problem. All the pieces presented March 3 were interesting and all but one were really good. Even a strange little black and white film shown before the performances felt appetizing.

    Choreography by: Erica Essner, Jil Guyon, Sigrid Keunen, Allison Lorenzen and Rebecca Patek, Keith A. Thompson.
    Produced by: Karen Bernard.
    Lighting design by: Julie Ana Dobo.
    Film: Janusz Jaworski.
    Joyce Soho
    February 24-March 7, 2009

    Though there were surprising coffee cups and saucers involved, Jil Guyon's solo Unveilings ultimately just feels depressed as it "explores broken relationships."

    Erica Essner's Moon Uprising 2009 (excerpt) is a rich piece of smooth contact and group flow. Six dancers — Courtney Drasner, Akiko Furukawa, Jenni Hong, Josh Palmer, Hannah Seidel and Paul Singh — move in and out of various partnerings, especially duets, in a progression that is comfortable and organic. The movement tends toward circular but includes some tension, with plenty of lifts and catches, scoops and leg extensions after spins, and some capoeira-flavored soft contact work. Live music via laptop by Miguel Frasconi really enhances the piece and helps give it an overall feel of soft tension with overtones of magic and pixie dust. Other notable elements are a duet of gestures, shrugs and quiet intimacy between Hong and Furukawa, the purity of movement of Drasner, and an ending tableau of two couples that feels like a 19th-century painting full of story.

    Sigrid Keunen's In This Case (for violin, viola, movement and little box) is neatly summed in its title. Keunen on violin and Dominica Eyckmans on viola give us a clever and entertaining musical duet with physical humor tied to the music, with elements of mime and minimalism. All is white onstage, and the two spend most of the piece connected back to back in a sort of shared struggle. The music and the piece are clean and refreshing.

    i see you see me from afar, and i look away, choreographed and performed by Allison Lorenzen and Rebecca Patek, aka New Extreme Dance Explosions Awesomes, is variously touching, broadly satirical, dumb and funny, in no particular order. Ostensibly a dance about a romantic breakup, it is also a rip and tear on academic discussions of dance, breakup dances in general, and possibly on a certain crunchy lesbianism found mainly in women's colleges in, say, Vermont (or not). At any rate, both Lorenzen and Patek are excellent performers and, from the very short dance segments, probably very good dancers. A gratuitous tampon, which got a groan and an "oh, no" from someone in the audience, and a cute reference to embarrassing mixtapes are two tiny bits that stuck, but for all the farce there was some substance to the piece as well.

    Keith A. Thompson's JumpCut put a nicely active cap on the evening, with the well-matched crew of Chris DelPorto, Jeff Jacobs, Daniel Puneky and Dan Walczak dancing the piece well. There is plenty of smooth lifting and more capoeira flavor, with small men moving big and fluid. The opening music has a circular feel as does much of the movement. The energy flow is continual and strong, with no real breaks other than two sections with spotlit circles, the first like a performance circle for each to show off and the second like a conversation circle for pairs to interact.

    The Performance Mix Festival and New Dance Alliance are largely the brainchild of Karen Bernard, who both curates and emcees the evenings, and she seems to cast a wide net to find performers, with about half the groups coming from outside NYC, a welcome inclusion.

    MARCH 6, 2009

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