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    L: Becky Radway in her solo; R: Emily Pope-Blackman for WHITE WAVE dance company in Dumbo Dance 2011
    Photo by Yi-Chun Wu
    L: Becky Radway in her solo; R: Emily Pope-Blackman for WHITE WAVE dance company

    Hot as Can Be

    Dumbo Dance Festival 2011 Fights the Heat


    OK, let's be frank; the 2011 Dumbo Dance Festival was a test. For audiences, it was a test of endurance, as even an hour in the heat and humidity of White Wave theater was rough. For dancers and choreographers, it was a test to see who could break through the fog of audience discomfort to rouse people. Ultrahigh intensity seems the only way to break through. Even good pieces become hard to watch when heat numbs perception.

    DUMBO DANCE 2011
    Choreography by: Becky Radway, Sin Ae Park, Amanda Hinchey, Allison Jones, Loni Landon, Yin Yue, Nicole Roerick, Aaron McGloin, Joe Celej, Young Soon Kim.
    White Wave John Ryan Theater
    September 20-23, 2011

    On Friday evening, the two that broke through were Becky Radway and Amanda Hinchey. And for the audience as a whole, it was the trio of Allison Jones, Yin Yue and Loni Landon.

    In a Saturday afternoon hour, Aaron McGloin's duet held up to the heat, and in the Sunday finale, each piece had moments, with Sin Ae Park and Young Soon Kim's connecting. And for the audience as a whole, it was the duet by Joe Celej that shone brightest.

    Notes and highlights, in chronological order of presentation:

    Becky Radway: unexpected and musical movement choices, with power and clarity; moves in and out of the music in a well-structured and lively solo, Chronically Challenged.

    Sin Ae Park: an interesting mix of short, sparky guy with tall, pretty woman — cutesy and raunchy at the same time, then two intense women, one of whom may be a jilted Soul-Mate. Painted in broad strokes, it still manages to find pathos and pain in a possibly foolish breakup.

    Lucio Abruzzi and Kathryn Logan from Aaron McGloin in Dumbo Dance 2011
    Photo by Yi-Chun Wu
    Lucio Abruzzi and Kathryn Logan from Aaron McGloin

    Amanda Hinchey: stunning speed and power, with some sort of turbo-charged gravity sucking dancers to the floor. Sharp, broken freezemotions and some slow walking intersperse what looks to be a somewhat tortured illusion of a Single Woman. This trio of fiery movers burns it up, with Rebekah Pleasant and Nellie Rainwater matching Hinchey in intensity.

    Allison Jones, Loni Landon and Yin Yue Side-Swiped: dark, literally and figuratively, full of dramatic movement. Strong rapport between the three leads to what looks like stylized cooperation and conflict and goes quite well with the music.

    Nicole Roerick Enfettered: brisk trio of formal-dressed women, struggling in or with their clothes. Striking and committed, keeps one watching.

    Allison Jones and Loni Landon, with Yin Yue (not pictured) in Dumbo Dance 2011
    Photo by Yi-Chun Wu
    Allison Jones and Loni Landon, with Yin Yue (not pictured)

    Aaron McGloin You Are My Lobster: sweet and silly but well-danced by the well-matched Kathryn Logan and Lucio Abruzzi. Manages to get some insight in among the humor.

    Joe Celej What More: eroticism and love are implied, though the gymnastics involved here get too stylized to feel like the real thing. Lauren Garson and Robert Moore dance this physical, always-connected duet impressively well.

    WHITE WAVE Young Soon Kim Dance Company: Mei Yamanaka opens with a knockout solo, apparently starting her day, and the device of a newspaper implies the world of things that can and do happen in one day.This is a huge piece in scope and length, and the dancers do a good job of being both anonymous and engaging. One unintentionally poignant section juxtaposes three couples with two single women to create tension, and focus on the coupled/single dichotomy.

    Despite the heat and chaos, the beast that is the Dumbo Dance Festival is still the welcome first place that quite a few choreographers show their work in NYC. If the end of September is this hot again next year, though, throw the windows open at night and find a way to cool the day.

    OCTOBER 11, 2011

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