| ||Photo by Florence Baratay|
Foofwa d'Imobilité shows the method to the madness at DNA
By QUINN BATSON
Foofwa d'Imobilité, née Frédéric Gafner, gave a bizarre but touching performance at DNA, reflecting his experience working with Merce Cunningham as a former company member and also exploring new territory in physical expression that may have amused Merce if he had been able to see it.
Musings re Merce John and Bob is an homage to the three men in the title that illustrates their methods and channels their voices, really interesting for those familiar with the men and possibly just weird for those who aren't. Watching a man in wet bodypaint humming classical music accents and dancing snippets of ballet certainly puts some hmmm in everyone's head as the piece opens. As the piece develops and we begin to appreciate that everything in the piece reflects the way Merce, John and Bob broke down elements to make art, it gradually comes into focus and even becomes quite clear.
After the ballet intro, the movement comes straight out of Cunningham technique, with the additional twist of Foofwa falling gracefully to the floor at the end of phrases to paint the floor with his body, surely an illustration of the clever randomness of Rauschenberg's art and more or less the process all three men used to make something from nothing.
|FOOFWA: NEOPOST AHRRRT|
|Choreography by: Foofwa d'Imobilité.|
Dancers: Azure Carter, Foofwa d'Imobilité, Alan Sondheim.
|Dance New Amsterdam|
January 21-24, 2010
The quotes and the voices Foofwa uses are slightly silly but nonetheless appropriate. It is a messy piece because the creative process, especially for the three men being celebrated, was often a messy one. It is not for everyone just as Merce, John and Bob's work was not for everyone, but it certainly connects and makes an excellent homage.
The second half of the evening, Involuntaries 1-6, is also not for everyone. It is basically an extended series of violent convulsions by Foofwa that serve to add booming percussion to stringed instruments played by Alan Sondheim and vocalizations by Azure Carter, by way of a microphoned floor. Sondheim switches intsruments while the other two switch outfits, but the end result is similar in each segment. There is a crazy edge to all, and an ongoing tension in watching Foofwa abuse his body and exhaust himself. All three performers commit fully to their part in the piece, so it is never uninteresting.
|JANUARY 26, 2010|
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