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  •  REVIEW: FRESH TRACKS 2011

      Lorene Bouboushian in Fresh Tracks 2011
      Photo by Ian Douglas
      Lorene Bouboushian
    Not a Lot Happening

    The first Fresh Tracks at New York Live Arts

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com


    The first Fresh Tracks presented at New York Live Arts was a bit underwhelming. Each choreographer had obvious movement or performance strengths. But each, Lorene Bouboushian excepted, presented a piece that left the question "Is that it?"

    Hadar Ahuvia brought out that pre-iPod rehearsal staple, a small boombox, to give herself a dance class and to muse about movement, in Class/icism. Ahuvia is a lovely mover who keeps a bland or blank face most of the time. Her stop-and-start piece here plays with hesitancy and controlled falling. There is a slight buildup as the piece progresses, as if she is upping the ante on herself each time the next musical selection begins. The end result feels like a solo sketch for a group piece. It is not hard to watch but also leaves little lasting impression.

    FRESH TRACKS 2011
    Choreography by: niv Acosta, Hadar Ahuvia, Aretha Aoki, Lorene Bouboushian, Yanghee Lee, Saśl Ulerio.
    Dancers: Hadar Ahuvia
    Aretha Aoki, with Vanessa Anspaugh, Kristina Dobosz and Line Haddad
    Lorene Bouboushian
    Yanghee Lee
    niv Acosta, with Cason Bolton, Joey Kipp and Yessenia Acosta
    Saśl Ulerio, with Mei Yamanaka
    .
    Music by: Alla Reznick (Ahuvia), Ryan MacDonald (Aoki), Jung Min A, Jon Hopkins (Lee), Alice Smith (Acosta).
    Lighting design by: Vincent Vigilante.
     SCHEDULE
    New York Live Arts
    December 7-10, 2011

      
    Aretha Aoki's The Turning of Events somehow manages to feel similar to the preceding, even though it is quite different and has Aoki partnering with Vanessa Anspaugh much of the time. Aoki is captivating by herself, giving silence and subtle movements life. She has a beautiful, calm base and the ability to move quick and smooth at any moment, always a good combination. Again, though there is a slight buildup, and two ballet/dancey-dance characters make occasional odd appearances, there is no overall feeling of purpose or intent, and nothing really sticks or strikes.

    Lorene Bouboushian gives us another good combination — disturbing and hilarious — with The White Lady guts flail gluttonous fail, and she leaves us with plenty to digest. Gradually and skillfully, she introduces verbalizations and grunts, and skewering self-analysis, until she is in full swing with a chanted/church-testifying take on the White Lady who lives in a Black neighborhood. "White Lady is spiritual but she's not religious" is a typical nugget, hilarious in context and with Bouboushian's passionate delivery. She plays with self-exposure and vulnerability in real, risky ways and ends the piece without pants, nude from the waist down rather than the almost-trendy and much safer waist-up way. There is no anticipating what will come next with Bouboushian, who consistently surprises us before we even realize we are being surprised. The combination of little shocks and perfect timing works wonders. This is someone who has us utterly sold by the end.

    Aretha Aoki in Fresh Tracks 2011
    Photo by Ian Douglas
    Aretha Aoki

    Yanghee Lee puts disturbing and intense together in Dusk, and the result is predictably uncomfortable. Lee practically glowers at us as she strips pages from a large sketchpad with printed words that punctuate her story of coming to grips, or not, with her father and her past. This is an angry poem, but it is a poem, and it leaves plenty of holes for us to fill in or fall into. The movement, though fairly minimal, is strong as well, but Lee's combination of thick clothing and anger keep us at bay and don't let us in at all, a very different sort of self-exposure than what came before.

      Mei Yamanaka in Fresh Tracks 2011
      Photo by Ian Douglas
      Mei Yamanaka
    Niv Acosta breaks the tension with singing and lip-synching, and Dance Electro, in denzel again, a meandering but mostly pleasant amalgamation. Acosta is transgender, but his Dominican mother is clearly female and sings a charming a capella song in the midst of the piece, the sort of leisurely non sequitur that typifies denzel again. Cason Bolton, Jr. shows the fusion of vogue, disco and hip-hop that is apparently called Dance Electro, and Joey Kipp has fun with facial expressions and lip-synching in the group singalong toward the end.

    Saśl Ulerio, another Dominican, wraps up the show with an ocean in between, pairing here with the always-interesting Mei Yamanaka. Is the ocean between the two, or between perception and reality? Nothing is really clear, but there are visually and emotionally arresting moments, especially at the end, as a seated Ulerio breaks a bottle with his bare hands and then leaves Yamanaka in a bikini onstage, tiptoeing and stumbling on the broken glass.

    DECEMBER 19, 2011
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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