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  •  REVIEW: THE A.W.A.R.D. SHOW! 2010

    Rie Fukuzawa and Satoshi Haga in The A.W.A.R.D. Show! 2010
    Photo by Matthew Murphy
    Rie Fukuzawa and Satoshi Haga

    Audience Award Less the Audience

    The A.W.A.R.D. Show! woos, then chooses


    In The A.W.A.R.D. Show! at Joyce Soho, the dances that most excited audiences in the initial nights were Yin Yue's and Aaron McGloin's. The audience favorite in the final was Satoshi Haga. The prize winner was Helen Simoneau.

    THE A.W.A.R.D. SHOW! 2010
    Choreography by: Julie Bour, eunkyungkim, Yin Yue, Takehiro Ueyama, Helen Simoneau, Lauri Stallings, Aaron McGloin, Alejandro Chavez, Michel Kouakou, Christopher Williams, Satoshi Haga, Roger Celedonio and Esther Mayda.
    Dancers: Julie Bour: Casey Loomis, Jacquelyn Elder, Chen Zielinski
    eunyungkim: Josh Anderson, Lindsey Drury, Samuel Hanson, Mark Messer, Malia Yamamoto, Jessie Young
    Yin Yue: Yin Yue
    TAKE Dance: Jill Echo, Marie Zvosec, Gina Ianni, Elise Drew, Kristen Arnold, Mariko Kurihara, Kile Hotchkiss, John Eirich, Takehiro Ueyama
    Helen Simoneau: Helen Simoneau
    Lauri Stallings: Stephanie Johnson, Toni Doctor Jenkins, Nicole Johnson, Mary Jane Pennington
    Aaron McGloin: Lucio Abruzzi and Kathryn Logan
    Alejandro Chavez: Claudio Izquierdo, Isabel Carapia, Felipe Escalante, Isaac Santana, Mariajose Medellin, Alejandro Chavez, Natteli Guarneros, Isabel Aguerrebere
    Michel Kouakou: Michel Kouakou
    Christopher Williams: Sydney Skybetter, Jordan Isadore, Philip Montana, Jordan Marley, Andrew Smith
    Satoshi Haga: with Rie Fukuzawa
    Celedonio and Mayda: Laura Finot, Janeth Pimienta, Laydy Reyes, Nicole Finot, Evelyn Vidaurre, Alexandra Vidaurre, Ricardo Tolentino, Gustava Villazon, Alan Grenidge, Job Senzano Jr., Ronald Senzano
    Original music: Daniel Dorobantu (Yin Yue).
    Joyce Soho
    November 17-20, 2010

    Show! is a welcome opportunity for cash and attention for emerging choreographers. It is also a strange mix of democracy and money. While billed as an audience award show in which the audience decides who wins, ultimately the decision shifts in the final round to a panel of professionals who get 80 percent of the vote and choose by criteria of presentability. The $10,000 award becomes more investment decision than popularity prize.

    Kudos go to Neta Pulvermacher for originating the show in 2005 and to Scott Kasen for funding it, but many people make it work. Larissa Chock and the Joyce organization produce it now, and the web streaming and general organization are excellent. Moderator Linda Szmyd Monich gives thoughtful and generous comments to lead postperformance discussions, and the finals panelists give a good sense of what they look for and of general issues facing choreographers. Still, it would feel a bit more democratic and participatory if the final vote were split 50/50 between audience and panel, and if the panelists felt able to discuss what they think of the final pieces.

    Yin Yue in The A.W.A.R.D. Show! 2010  
    Photo by Matthew Murphy  
    Yin Yue
    But what a fascinating smorgasbord The A.W.A.R.D. Show! is, from magic to train wrecks, with each night composed of wildly disparate dances. Solos and duets seemed to fare better than larger group pieces, perhaps partly because Joyce Soho has a small stage with no wings. And all three finalists — Yin Yue, Satoshi Haga and Helen Simoneau — chose minimal and abstract music, though Yue's music was much richer and varied, partly because it was a commissioned piece on which choreographer and composer collaborated.

    The first performance of Yue's Torn and the duet You Are My Lobster by Aaron McGloin stand out as the best two performances of the four nights. Torn begins and ends in prone exhaustion, with beautiful ebbs and flows of music, movement and light; it is a dark piece of struggle and turmoil that can touch many human chords when it reaches its full range and power. Lobster is pretty much the opposite — light and very funny, though lyrics from The Magnetic Fields inject some real darkness with a smile. Lucio Abruzzi and Kathryn Logan give perfectly timed and nuanced performances as a young couple negotiating a relationship with looks and glances that convey so many different things. They also do plenty of solid dancing and physical connecting, and a midpiece finger solo fits the mood and the music perfectly.

    Helen Simoneau in The A.W.A.R.D. Show! 2010
    Photo by Matthew Murphy
    Helen Simoneau

    In the finals, audience favorite Satoshi Haga (binbinFactory) and panel favorite Helen Simoneau share very minimal piano music and very slowly developing movement. Haga and partner Rie Fukuzawa are heavily connected through a light touch and create some beautiful and touching moments of coupledness in Thread, and Simoneau swings oddly between distracted staring human and windup doll in the gentleness was in her hands, but both use light quite effectively. Light fading almost to darkness wonderfully previews the inevitable breaking of binbin's connection, and Simoneau looking each of three small floor lamps out to end her piece may be the strongest ending of all.

    NOVEMBER 22, 2010

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