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  •  REVIEW: SKYBETTER AND ASSOCIATES: THE LAWS OF FALLING BODIES

      The Law of Falling Bodies, with Elliott Reiland lifting in Skybetter and Associates: The Laws of Falling Bodies
      Photo by Ramon Estevanell
      The Law of Falling Bodies, with Elliott Reiland lifting
    Falling Softly in Circles

    Sydney Skybetter debuts at Joyce Soho

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com


    Only at a Joyce Soho show does the choreography mature between the beginninging of the show and the end.

    Potemkin Piece, from 2007, opened Sydney Skybetter's Joyce Soho show and felt like an early piece in the progression, an odd but appealing mix of graceful but careful swinging arms with occasional unexpected somersaults or moments of contact that end with bodies dumped to the floor, all to string quartet music by Dvořák. The overall effect is pretty and fresh and a little awkward, like watching a colt learning to run who takes a few odd steps in the process.

    SKYBETTER AND ASSOCIATES: THE LAWS OF FALLING BODIES
    Choreography by: Sydney Skybetter.
    Dancers: Kristen Arnold, Cat DeAngelis, Jennifer Jones, Elliott Reiland, Gary Schaufeld, Sydney Skybetter, Dana Thomas and Bergen Wheeler.
    Costumes by: Candida K. Nichols.
    Lighting design by: Kate Ashton.
    Dramaturgy: Kay Cummings.
     SCHEDULE
    Joyce Soho
    March 25-27, 2010

      
    Kristen Arnold dances the first of 3 solos excerpted from The Personal, spotlit in pants and bra. The movement is pretty and formal, with circularity to match the spotlight, though circling seems to be a consistent Skybetter movement choice. Music by Schumann continues the classical.

    Cold House You Kept introduces slow lifts and carries that match slow passages in string quartet music by Henryk Górecki. Quicker passages feel quite active, and circular. A quiet, lone figure in the dark is a nice ending to reflect the title.

    Skybetter dances the second excerpted Personal solo centerstage and a little more intensely, with occasional penetrating gazes into the audience/horizon.

    Fugue State is happy and active, with lots of side tilts and legs and plenty of spinning jumps or tours, the movement as always going well with the music, here a piano quintet by Shostakovich.

    Bergen Wheeler's turn with the third Personal solo is the most downstage and the most intense, full of smoky drama and falls to floor. The movement seems to suit her perfectly.

    The Laws of Falling Bodies brings everything together well to end the show. There is the slow, deliberate movement and music that feels soft and luxurious. There are circular patterns of movement that feel like eddies and give a fluid quality to the piece. And there are plenty of big lifts, here falling mainly to Elliot Reiland doing double duty as he lowers those he lifts in an extraslow "fall" to ground. Tiny individual collapses and large group tableaux give some dynamics and movement through the piece as it eddies and pauses, slows and resumes. It is a beautiful piece that feels complete and mature.

    MARCH 30, 2010
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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