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    Lindsay Clark and Stuart Singer in Fresh Tracks 2010
    Photo by Yi-Chun Wu
    Lindsay Clark and Stuart Singer

    Fresh Tracks in the Dirt of Dance

    Fresh Tracks keeps on trucking at DTW


    1965 is like the beginning of time in contemporary dance. The Fresh Tracks series has run continuously since then at Dance Theater Workshop even as DTW has grown and changed through the years. Here's hoping that the new version of DTW, whatever name it takes, keeps the series going.

    Dance Theater Workshop
    December 8-11, 2010

    The 2010 program is as diverse as any year's and feels, um, fresh. This year's stars are Lindsay Clark and Marjani A. Forté, and the show goes something like this:

    A very large circle of splayed newspaper pages and a small mountain range of the same, crumpled, wait for Mei Yamanaka in newspaper & me. In the way of some traditions of Japanese performance, very little happens very slowly at first. Yamanaka has a wonderfully soft way of making the solid floor look like shifting sands or a marshy bog that threaten to topple her and suck her in. When things really get going, she seems to disappear and become a tornado, sucking papers up in spirals of wind. Then the winds die down and she disappears into the mountain, emerging only after she has found what she is looking for. Like the soundtrack, of a juicer being used to make juice, the gift she finds is simple but effective.

    Lindsay Clark turns a tale of lost love into a spiritual journey for redemption and salvation, with song and humor, in Goodbye Mr. B. Wow. Clark, Stuart Singer and Yve Laris Cohen sing a sad but beautiful song, a capella, that nails the essence of a deep but mortally wounded relationship, in 3-part harmonies. Then, to grand string music, Clark and Cohen perform a smooth adagio that is both silly and majestic, using their ballet lines well. Cue Rihanna and Eminem, loud, singing their latest hit about painful love, and cue Clark and Singer dancing the most absurd and beautiful accompaniment, full of hunkering, handwork and goofy galloping. Clark is musical to the core, and this section rivals the brilliance that John Jaspers company danced to Rick Ross music, until now the most inspired movement I'd seen for hiphop/pop music. The end section is another animal altogether, beginning in quiet ambience and a stage bisected artfully into dark and light by a piece of tape and lighting by Vincent Vigilante. Clark, on all fours, in the light, looks defeated or lost, while Singer stands nearby, in the dark, singing a falsetto song. The lyrics morph from mom calling her kids home to a larger plea to all searching sinners. Creation credit goes as well to Reid Barthelme (Mr. B?), and perhaps to ___.

    Marjani A. Forté in Fresh Tracks 2010  
    Photo by Yi-Chun Wu  
    Marjani A. Forté
    EGO is Marjani A. Forté's, and she has plenty of it, or none of it. Beginning in a soft glow near the back wall, her back to us, she sends shivers and spasms like shock waves through her body, in and out of synch with music by Everett V. Saunders. She is a powerful and breathtaking mover, shifting so quickly that guessing what she'll do next is impossible. And when she jerks fabric over her head and turns around to us, breasts and face equally visible and invisible, it quickly becomes clear that her emotions can shift equally fast. In superspeed mime, she hits polite, angry, shy, excited, apologetic, fierce and funny. Then, to keep us guessing, she enters the audience to sit on someone's lap and returns to the stage to burn even hotter, ending the piece by slowly approaching a man in the front row, in a delicious mix of menace and appeal.

    Duke by Yve Laris Cohen brings to mind the duke John Wayne, who always seemed to be playing a part that didn't really exist. Certainly there is some gender-fucking going on here. A large man with small breasts carries a small woman with no breasts as she picks up planks of wood, over and over. Or was that supposed to be a large woman and a small man? Later, the small man, wearing padded football pants, "fucks" the large woman, and later still ends the piece by approaching a prone him/her, again over and over, in a scene from a ballet. It is either all very funny or a bit sad, but it is never boring.

    the near(ness), by Tatyana Tenenbaum, begins strikingly like Goodbye Mr. B but goes nowhere grand, sort of like the shy sister who stays home. Like the earlier piece, though, it has moments of sonic magic, but this performance seems smaller and a little dry.

    And Jessica's Story, here performed by Rebecca Patek solo, seems similarly smaller and drier than a version presented at Judson with former collaborator Allison Lorenzen. It is still brilliantly awkward, however, and may lose nothing if viewed fresh. Patek wears many hats, literally, as she takes the story of baby Jessica who fell into a well and turns it, again a bit like Mr. B, into a much larger place of sinners and salvation. This salvation, though, comes with tongue firmly in cheek.

    DECEMBER 11, 2010

    Reader comments on Fresh Tracks 2010:

  • Lindsay Clark   from jenni keast, Dec 25, 2010

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