Light or Dark, Funny or Not
| ||Photo by Julie Lemberger|
| ||from Anthem for the Living|
Belinda McGuire dances a show of solos at Joyce SoHo and calls it The Heist Project
By QUINN BATSON
One image stays from Belinda McGuire's Joyce Soho solo show, The Heist Project; as she walks through the stage, she is lit and unlit as if by a light turning off and on. It is a powerful visual and a good metaphor for McGuire's dancing and stage persona. Her ability to go instantly from light to dark, still to explosive, silly to deep, is impressive and continually startling. The show itself is structured this way as well, with two deeper pieces interrupted by a lighter piece in two parts.
The Eight Propositions seem somber and tortured, as if each is a tough choice. Choreographed by EG|PC (choreographer Emio Greco and dramaturg Pieter C. Scholten) and McGuire, with music by Jerome Begin and dark lighting by Kate Ashton, this solo carries weight. McGuire moves sporadically in curving explosions of rotation, walking slowly in between (as in the lightswitch image) or standing still as if waiting for the next jolting bolt of movement. It is an interesting mix of resignation and powerful effort, or calm and turmoil.
|Choreography by: Emio Greco, Belinda McGuire, Pieter C. Scholten, Idan Sharabi, Sharon B. Moore.|
Dancers: Belinda McGuire.
Music by: Jerome Begin, Alexander Balanescu, Joni Mitchell.
Costumes by: Belinda McGuire, Katharine Mallinson.
Lighting design by: Kate Ashton.
December 1-3, 2011
This mix seems part of McGuire's wiring as well. One moment she looks angelic, glowing like a happy baby, and the next she is a dervish, spinning or erupting fast and large enough to tear herself apart. It is a jarring contrast and one that repeats itself throughout the evening in each of the three choreographies.
|Photo by Julie Lemberger|
|McGuire light and dark, from Anthem (L) and Propositions (R)|
Blue Solo, Joni, choreographed by Idan Sharabi, takes a Joni Mitchell song and plays with it, often teasing little bits of literal movement from the lyrics. It is apparently light, a sort of palate-cleanser before the next piece.
Anthem for the Living, by Sharon B. Moore, is possibly darker than Propositions, though it is also silly, so it is hard to tell. An opening moment, with a long rope slipping through the grasp of a sleeping McGuire, is beautiful and haunting: is it her last chance or even life itself disappearing through her hands? Other rope images are more literal and less compelling, like the fake extraction through her mouth or the fairly unshocking hanging noose, but they do imply pain and tragedy. Moore choreographs for film and circus, which explains some of this, but it is still an odd mix. McGuire, though, throws off flashes of virtuosity from nowhere, blasting fast jumps or other large explosive devices so quickly they seem improbable. The power in her body is remarkable, as is the sheer volume of movement in this piece and the evening, but even with strong music by Alexander Balanescu, this anthem ultimately feels weightless.
Blue Solo, Joni, part 2, takes the evening out in a disappointingly unfinal finish, but there is a moment that strikes deep and could be an ending in itself: as McGuire noodles and plays, all of a sudden the lyrics and movement come into focus at the word, and the feeling, "blue", and the lights and the mood dip to blue, truly reflecting the sadness underlying Mitchell's song. It is a powerful moment, but it is allowed to pass, in effect negated by continuing. The overall impact suffers for it, but this seems to be a theme of the evening, intentionally or not.
|DECEMBER 21, 2011|
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