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      GoGoVertigoat in Raw Material 2009
      Photo by Florence Baratay
    Too Many Moving Parts?

    DNA's Raw Material loses some marbles


    Absurdity has a valid place in every dance form. Absurdity as the prominent feature of a piece, though, is usually a recipe for a mess. With varying reasons and degrees of success, each of the six choreographers in DNA's 2009 Raw Material showed a mess of some sort.

    Alpha Pups by Cakeface has some fun and inspired dancing and lots of ideas. Unfortunately, most of the ideas seem like inside jokes not shared by the audience, even if they are funny through sheer absurdity. An opening segment with quasi-officeworkers on stage sort of playing off a video of young male corporate types spewing business jargon seems promising if uneven but is left alone. A second video with plushy toys betting on the next choice to be made onstage is funnier but fleeting. The choreographed dance makes some sense, but the overall piece doesn't.

    Choreography by: Amanda Szeglowski, Catherine Galasso, Eleanor Goudie-Averill, Lindsey Drury, Indah Boyle, Makiko Tamura.
    Dancers: cakeface: Elle Chyun, Jeso O'Neill, Asami Morita, Amanda Szeglowski, Dana Thomas
    Catherine Galasso: herself, with Indah Boyle trio guests
    Stone Depot Dance Lab: Malinda Crump, Eleanor Goudie-Averill, Beau Hancock, Edward Rice, Jenna Riegel, Anna Adams Stark
    GoGoVertigoat Dance: eunkyungkim, Corinne Cappelletti, Lindsey Drury
    Indah Boyle: Boyle, Marie Doherty, Kyleigh Sackandy
    small apple co.:Ryoji Sasamoto and Makiko Tamura
    Music by: Caleb Engstrom (Penumbra); Fishmans/small apple co. (up and down).
    Lighting design by: Amanda K. Ringger, Asami Morita, Michael Ingle, Saul Ulerio, Anna Adams Stark.
    Puppets and puppetry (Penumbra): Nicole Donnelly.
    October 8 and 9, 2009

    Catherine Galasso's Will You Be My Liver is a much darker solo about a much darker subject, but too many unconnected pieces register as a collection of snippets with no clear purpose. Only extra press material disclosed that the piece had been substituted last-minute as a tribute to Galasso's recently deceased father, but that information didn't clarify the piece. An apparently improvised bit toward the end with three extra dancers from the audience worked best and made the viewer curious to see more, because the movement and group work was quite good.

    Penumbra by Eleanor Goudie-Averill/Stone Depot Dance Lab has crisp dancing and a soft, pretty palette of warm browns and yellows but ultimately feels empty. A shadowpuppet show of paper cutouts and occasional humans on one side of the stage competes with the dancers and may chart the personal history of immigration of the human who cast the final shadow of the piece. Bits of humor in the puppet show are never mirrored in the dancing onstage, strangely.

      Stone Depot Dance Lab in Raw Material 2009
      Photo by Florence Baratay
      Stone Depot Dance Lab
    GoGoVertigoat Dance certainly gets the prize for most absurdity, intentionally or not, with Sell Out Demos. What seems like a piece of female self-exploration and identity issues is swamped by the visuals of three women onstage in underpants and crudely taped breasts running around acting crazy or silly, with the help of a video showing the taping process, an onstage copy machine, a laptop video camera and a bullhorn. Narrated text streaming across the top of the back wall is impossible to focus on with everything else happening, which is unfortunate since it seems to contain the main points of the piece. In the moments the text did register, though, it didn't make much sense. It's likely each of the three dancers is a strong mover, judging from the tiny bits of dancing in the piece.

    Indah Boyle came close to making sense with Cheerleaders at a Wedding even if the premise is absurd. The opening, with three women wearing white tutus and sleeveless dresses and dancing to Motown in unison that is intentionally never identical, has a fresh, funny quality that never seems to get anywhere as the piece continues. It is a fun piece to watch but loses flavor as it goes.

    The end of the evening felt good with up and down by Makiko Tamura/small apple co. The piece has a clear structure and excellent dancing by Ryoji Sasamoto and Tamura but feels more like an impression than a dance. The impression is that of soft chaos, with clothes littering the back of the stage and performers randomly changing in and out of them. Are the clothes and the people interchangeable? Is this a couple that is so comfortable they share clothes? The lighting and feel overall is soft and delicate, with a beautiful ending of the two sitting in front of a backstage multicolor danceball light, continuing to move as the stage goes dark.

    OCTOBER 9, 2009

    Reader comments on Raw Material 2009:

  • review of 2009   from rani Welch, Nov 6, 2009

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