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      Lensacompass in Kim Gibilisco Dances
      Photo by Julie Lemberger
    Tumbling Leaps and Video Reflections

    Kim Gibilisco at Joyce Soho


    Kim Gibilisco's Charged starts with rattlesnake-like intensity. Five dancers crouch in the shadows, coiled and ready to pounce. As the light comes up, the red and black clad tribe reveals its technical agility. Leaping high into the air, the dancers suspend in the air for an instant, only to return again to their deep lunges. A leg extends high into a statuesque balance; one, two, three perfect split leaps dart through space. Spectacle begins to trump expression early on in this dance. The technique, while impressive, is contained and sterile. Low runs with stationary arms seem too neat for the rhythmic score that becomes increasingly feral & ecstatic. Eventually tumbling diagonal leaps and dive rolls produce an authentic dynamism. Stacie Shivers is particularly impressive as she barrel leaps into a forward roll that arrests in an inverted hinge. However, recognizable choreographic devices seem to abruptly tame the ferocity that lurks just beneath the surface of this piece. Finally the dancers fall to the ground. As the lights fade, we hear their exhausted breathing, the most genuine element of the dance.

    Choreography by: Kim Gibilisco.
    Dancers: Nancy Andrews, Jennifer Clevinger, Kim Gibilisco, Brandon Jones, Kyle Rostan, Stacie Shivers.
    Lighting design by: Tony Marques.
    Joyce Soho
    March 11-13, 2010

    In Telling..., the second piece on the program, Kim Gibilisco herself is featured in a tale of ostracism and suffering. After years dancing with Murray Louis and Nikolais Dance, Gibilisco is an instantly compelling presence. She lives her dancing with such commitment that we cannot help but be swept up into her plight. The first two sections provide an intimate glimpse into a disturbed soul. An abusive duet concludes with an abrupt betrayal and abandonment. In the lengthy solo that follows, Kim reaches out with contorted yearning to the strains of a choral Agnus Dei. The austere voices lend an air of psychological maturity to her struggle. The next section introduces a quartet whose theatrics continue the outcast drama. Jockeying for position, one and then the next take turns tussling Gibilisco in a sophomoric scene that resembles school-yard bullying. The intimacy of the previous sections is lost along with our sense of the theme's maturity.

    Kim Gibilisco Dances
    Photo by Julie Lemberger

    Gibilisco's most recent work, Lensacompass is the most ambitious of the program. Teaming up with the video artists of Forward Motion Theater and composer Tigger Benford, Gibilisco explores the complex nature of perspective. The dance transpires in front of a video backdrop of colorful layered images including edited snippets of the dance itself. Benford's powerful score (performed live) evokes ancient ritual and timeless rhythm. Dressed in space-age silver by Kathleen Dyer, the dancers appear to interweave past, present and future. The eye ricochets from the dance, to Benford, to the video, and back to the dance again in a continuous negotiation of facings and perspectives. The video images, which have become more abstract, blur together like a wall-sized lava lamp. Suddenly, the footage shifts to crystal clear close-ups of the faces of the dancers. Larger than life, these portraits dwarf the actual dancers who stare back at them, enraptured.

    Kim Gibilisco's work deals with identity and perception in the face of overwhelming social pressure. At times riveting, her work mostly falls short to the tune of trying too hard. She would do well to tap into Nikolais' spirit of invention via detachment. Her most successful moments appear when she forgets her "craft" and allows the medium to be the message.

    MARCH 14, 2010

    Reader comments on Kim Gibilisco Dances:

  • Great   from Ruth Stokes, Mar 24, 2010

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