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  •  REVIEW: WROUGHT IRON FOG

    Matthew Rogers, Hilary Clark, Daniel Clifton, Heather Olson, Erin Gerken in Wrought Iron Fog
    Photo by Yi-Chun Wu
    Matthew Rogers, Hilary Clark, Daniel Clifton, Heather Olson, Erin Gerken

    Origami Time

    Tere O'Connor and dancers dazzle with or without intention in Wrought Iron Fog

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com

    Wrought Iron Fog is a magical experience, for none of the usual reasons. Having never seen a Tere O'Connor piece, it was a revelation, as were O'Connor's post-performance words about the piece and the process and life. Music by James Baker, lighting design by Michael O'Connor and performances by Hilary Clark, Daniel Clifton, Erin Gerken, Heather Olson and Matthew Rogers make the piece transcendent.

      
    WROUGHT IRON FOG
    Choreography by: Tere O'Connor.
    Dancers: Hilary Clark, Daniel Clifton, Erin Gerken, Heather Olson, Matthew Rogers.
    Music by: James Baker.
    Set design by: Walter Dundervill and Tere O'Connor.
    Costumes by: Jennifer Goggans and Erin Gerken.
    Lighting design by: Michael O'Connor.
     SCHEDULE
    Dance Theater Workshop
    November 10-14, 2009

    "Origami time" probably best describes the sensation of the piece. It is O'Connor's own description of how time and people seem to fold into and out of the center of our consciousness. Different dancers and groupings of dancers come into focus or disappear with no announcement or apparent intention. Musical word fragments sometimes become choral voices and sometimes become a "tired man" ruminating but usually remain an elixir of ebbing and flowing sensation that soaks the dance without intruding.

    The movement palette is all over the place, intentionally. Often the dancers toy with ballet or any other dance technique and end up looking like dance toys — marionettes, plushy toys, automatons. They disperse and coalesce languorously, often greeting each other when they do meet with silly finger waggles or similar gigglemaking gestures. Dancers pop into huge jumps or leaps as if the mood just hit them and then leave the moment and return to strolling leisurely or sitting in silence with a comrade or going into some really strange locomotion. Hits include soft backward somersaults around the entire theater by the two guys, who end up sitting at the back of the stage, calmly observing, or the crazy falling runs that Erin Gerken and two others make up and down the stage over and over until they act and probably are exhausted. Solos by Heather Olson and Matthew Rogers stand out. Headsdown crawling, arm flapping, fey prancing, absurd bourrĂ©es and fake lip-synching all make appearances as well.

    Erin Gerken and Heather Olson in Wrought Iron Fog
    Photo by Yi-Chun Wu
    Erin Gerken and Heather Olson

    The range from soft to violent and still to frantic is also organic and almost unsurprising, surprisingly. People slowly drift offstage unnoticed or become the focus of others with the same organic flow, which is what makes this a piece about consciousness as we normally experience it in a social context. Most of the piece feels both mundane and unusual, and remarkable moments usually pass unremarked. This all fits O'Connor's professed desire to go "outside the good/bad paradigm", to largely suspend judgement. In his hands and with the input of the performers, this unintentional intention works really well. Even the ending sequence, which is choreographed more in the traditional sense, feels at home with the rest of the piece while peaceably closing things down with calm gazes and nice spacing.

    NOVEMBER 14, 2009
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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