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  •  REVIEW: KERPLUNK AND FRIENDS

      Katherine Richardson of kerPlunk Dance in kerPlunk and Friends
      Photo by Bill Hebert
      Katherine Richardson of kerPlunk Dance
    Humans and Friends

    kerPlunk Dance and Friends fill up City Center Studio 4

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com


    Friends shone brightest as kerPlunk Dance and Friends put together an evening at City Center Studio 4. Katherine Richardson of kerPlunk gets kudos for assembling a solid evening of dance. The friends she invited — agise & dancers, Elinor Harrison, Genna Baroni and Marileke Burghouts and Dancers — feel related, in movement style or in quirky aesthetic.

    kerPlunk dancers move well and use much of the ground and the air, but nothing seems to stick, or stand out. It is not vague dancing; it seems full of intent and energy and has a strong group feel. The element that seems disconnected from the movement in each piece is the music. Whether this is intentionally going against the grain of the music to avoid slavish mimicry or simply plunking music on after setting the movement is never clear, but the result is frustrating. And, strangely, agise and dancers's piece felt just like a kerPlunk piece.

    KERPLUNK AND FRIENDS
    Choreography by: Katherine Richardson, Andrea Gise, Genna Baroni, Natalie Desch, Marileke Burghouts, Elinor Harrison.
    Dancers: kerPlunk Dance: Katherine Richardson, Sarah Wiechman, Michelle DuVall, Jenny Gillan, Meghan MacAlpine
    agise & dancers: Audra Bailey Katelyn Chakey, Celia DeVoe, Kim Machaby, Elly Sullivan
    Genna Baroni
    Marileke Burghouts: Cassie Bednall, Matt Cichon, Tonya Cisco, Laurel Desmarais, Jen Queliz, Allegra Romita
    Elinor Harrison and Paul Singh
    .
     SCHEDULE
    New York City Center Studio 4
    October 8, 2011

      
    Friend Genna Baroni is fascinating to watch, though, because there is no telling what she will do next, and what she does next is often absurdly beautiful or beautifully absurd. Her solo Ragerian's Triptych Vignettes, apparently her first ever, is masterful and engaging, and it suffers none of the usual pitfalls of solos. The length feels just right, and the ending is toyed with, titillating the audience, rather than the opposite, in which an audience keeps wishing the piece will end and it doesn't. Baroni picks three themes or inspirations and runs with them in three sections, making it look as if this is easy. And the soundtrack works really well with the movement. Bravo. From the title, and from Baroni's descriptions of her inspirations, there is a lot of brainwork involved in making this solo. This often leads to impenetrable messes, but here it only makes things more interesting. There is a neurotic detective inspiring the first section, for instance, and the hesitancy and paranoia Baroni puts into her body is hilarious. The second section is far more active, a nice break for us and a workout for Baroni, who often puts her body through double moves in the air like something from Gallim or gaga. And the third feels much like the first, with a simple walking-off ending, after several false starts, breaking the tension.

    Genna Baroni in kerPlunk and Friends
    Photo by Bill Hebert
    Genna Baroni

    Marileke Burghouts puts six people on stage for Just Human, and it seems the right number and mix of people for the title. Extra-tall Matt Cichon gets leader duties in the early stages, giving abrupt and seemingly arbitrary verbal commands to switch partners; this technique that has become commonplace feels fine here, and works as a welcome device to break up the static flow of three couples dancing. Later sections have the group behaving more like a unit than coupled pairs. The mix of the six is surprising and fresh, and works well with the music.

    Elinor Harrison and Paul Singh in kerPlunk and Friends
    Photo by Bill Hebert
    Elinor Harrison and Paul Singh

    And a juicy duet by Elinor Harrison and Paul Singh, Frank and Mamah, choreographed by Harrison, feels, like Baroni's solo, quite different than the rest but somehow related. Both Harrison and Singh are adept at subtle expression and clear movement, and they manage to stay quite watchable while staying mostly rooted in place. Music by Rachel's and Amlina feeds the two, and the combination of synchronicity, soft conflict and clear emotional connection is a pleasure to watch.

    OCTOBER 18, 2011
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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