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  •  REVIEW: DONNA UCHIZONO: LONGING TWO

      Hristoula Harakas, front, and Donna Uchizono in Donna Uchizono: Longing Two
      Photo by Paula Court
      Hristoula Harakas, front, and Donna Uchizono
    Location, Location, Location

    Donna Uchizono splits a piece in two

    By JULIE FOTHERINGHAM
    Offoffoff.com


    Location is everything — or so they say — but I question how important it is to change location midway through Donna Uchizono's longing two, which takes place in two separate venues with a bus ride in between. Really, this field trip during intermission just distracts from an otherwise effectively constructed work.

    It starts at Baryshnikov Arts Center, where the performance space is defined by waist-high paper walls, creating a long corridor with seating on either side. All seats are close up, making intimacy with the performers unavoidable. As Savina Theodorou and Anna Carapetyan traverse along the corridor, they are careful to make eye contact with the audience, breaking the hypothetical "fourth wall" while literally looking over a real paper wall.

    DONNA UCHIZONO: LONGING TWO
    Choreography by: Donna Uchizono.
    Dancers: Anna Carapetyan, Hristoula Harakas, Savina Theodorou, Donna Uchizono.
    Sound design by: James Lo.
    Set design by: Ronnie Gensler.
    Costumes by: Wendy Winters.
    Lighting design by: Joe Levasseur.
     SCHEDULE
    The Kitchen and Baryshnikov Arts Center
    June 4-6, 2010

      
    The disjointed nature of the first half parallels the disjointed nature of life, or dreams, or surfing the internet, etc. The choreography ranges from soft undulating arm movements, to walking with water pitchers on their heads, while Joe Levasseur's lighting shifts from warm amber to stark fluorescent. Meanwhile, Uchizono herself and Hristoula Harakas make their way down the center of the corridor with a meditative walk which offers a calm stability to the instability.

    For the second half, we are transported to another place — literally (The Kitchen), where we re-enter the piece with same dancers already in action. Harakas is performing rond de jambes en l'air with an animal sensuality which makes a rond de jambe en l'air much more captivating than it ever should be. Uchizono watches in a reclined position, which creates an interesting power dynamic between the two.

    Anna Carapetyan and Savina Theodorou in Donna Uchizono: Longing Two
    Photo by Paula Court
    Anna Carapetyan and Savina Theodorou

    James Lo's harsh electronic sound magnifies the vulnerability of these two supple bodies, with their naked, fleshy legs subjected to the noise of screeching metal. The sound grows louder and louder and then. . . it becomes quiet. Donna Uchizono elicits emotion through dramatic changes in light and sound rather than overtly dramatized performances. Even the butoh-esque expression of agony in her solo is abstract in nature. This restraint confirms her maturity, and integrity in art making.

    The impetus for longing two is the concept of "identity and the loss of identity, in terms of where you're born versus where you end up". But I think that the change in identity here has less to do with geographic location than it does with location in time. After a 10-year hiatus from performing, Uchizono reemerges in this piece, juxtaposed with the young lithe Harakas. It is the present layered on top of a suggestion of the past. And it is this image of change over time — rather than change of venue — which leaves the most powerful impression.

    JUNE 12, 2010
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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