|Photo by Yi-Chun Wu|
|Footsteps in the Snow|
L-R: John Eirich, Elise Drew, Jacob Warren, Nana Tsuda
Beauty and Speed
Take Dance Hits a Homer at DTW
By QUINN BATSON
There is something precious about snow, perhaps because we see so little of it any more that it is almost magical when it does come. Footsteps in the Snow would be beautiful without "snow", but the snow onstage and occasionally falling lightly in a spotlit center make it magical as well. Dark and soft lighting by Jason Jeunnette and piano by Arvo Part certainly help.
But it is the interplay between sleepy torpor and lightning flashes of movement that give Footsteps its essence. An early example by two of the best at this has Mariko Kurihara running fast into John Eirich, who catches her quickly then carries her slowly as if she has become a sleeping child upon hitting his arms. Gina Ianni and Kile Hotchkiss, though, get the really beautiful opening duet, rolling slowly and luxuriously side by side with his hand landing softly on her leg after each revolution, both picking up a bit of snow as they go.
|Choreography by: Takehiro Ueyama.|
Dancers: Takehiro Ueyama, Jill Echo, Kristen Arnold, Elise Drew, John Eirich, Kile Hotchkiss, Gina Ianni, Mariko Kurihara, Milan Misko, Sharon Park, Nana Tsuda, Amy Young, Stephanie Amurao, Christina Ilisije, Ann Olson, Gabe Spellberg, Jacob Warren, Marie Zvosec.
Costumes by: Cheryl McCarran.
Lighting design by: Jason Jeunnette.
May 18-22, 2010
Each dancer in the snow gets a chance to shine or solo, and the possibility of sliding adds even more variety to a wide palette of movement. Amy Young, for example, enters in a flurry of spinning jumps that turn into really fast rolling across the floor that eventually has her lying downstage center breathing heavily, quietly. John Eirich has a solo of falling sideways like a felled tree that would surely hurt anyone with lesser coordination. Gina Ianni draws the last of a series of spotlit solos in the falling snow, slapping the ground to begin a sort of ritualistic dance to nature to end the piece.
|Photo by Yi-Chun Wu|
L-R: Christina Ilisije, Jacob Warren, Elise Drew, Ann Olson, John Eirich
One thing that strikes about Take Dance is the wide range in size of the dancers, between three men well over six feet tall at one end and one or two women at or below five feet at the other, and yet all move exceptionally well and fluidly at high speed, and at no point does the size of an individual distract the eye in the way they move. This only makes the group pieces that much more interesting and creates some uniquely diverse couples.
Flight is an excellent new piece that does good things with 15 dancers. Takehiro Ueyama faces an abstracted video image on the back wall to open the piece with a quiet then lively solo. An entire village of dancers running every which way then take over the stage for a really strong opening group piece, again beautifully lit by Jason Jeunnette. The groupwork is dynamic and dramatic without ever trying too hard, and the subgroupings and transitions are seamless when they need to be and starkly clear when it suits, such as when Take reenters to wend his way through the villagers.
Several motifs and movements stand out. There is a trio/quartet of Kile Hotchkiss, Gina Ianni and Milan Misko being joined by and sometimes closing out Jill Echo, sometimes forming a ring and sometimes breaking off into a line that quickly brings everyone onstage together. And there is a really quick but subtle footwork element of wide-second stepping with hitches thrown in that the large but silky duo of Misko and Hotchkiss do impressively easily, which is also repeated to good effect in parts of the whole group sections.
Throughout the evening, movement continues to surprise, sometimes by sheer speed from nowhere and sometimes by ingenuity of motion, often with both happening together. It is the elements of surprise married to easy pauses or lulls that make Take's choreography delicious, and when the whole evening hits as it did here, it is a beautiful thing.
|MAY 21, 2010|
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