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  •  REVIEW: LARRY KEIGWIN: EXIT

    Gary Schaufeld, Aaron Carr and Ashley Browne in Larry Keigwin: Exit
    Photo by Christopher Duggan
    Gary Schaufeld, Aaron Carr and Ashley Browne

    Leave the Darkness Behind

    Larry Keigwin makes an evening-length Exit

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com

    Larry Keigwin wisely chose the title Exit rather than "Dark Habits" for his first evening-length piece, presented at the Joyce. It is one of several wise choices that make Exit ultimately work.

      
    LARRY KEIGWIN: EXIT
    Choreography by: Larry Keigwin.
    Dancers: Matthew Baker, Ashley Browne, Aaron Carr, Kristina Hanna, Liz Riga, Ryoji Sasamoto, Gary Schaufeld.
    Music by: Jerome Begin and Chris Lancaster.
    Set design by: Dane Laffrey.
    Costumes by: Karen Young and Jeff Poulin.
    Lighting design by: Burke Wilmore.
    Production stage manager: Lauren Parrish.
    Assistant choreographer: Liz Riga.
     SCHEDULE
    Joyce Theater
    March 8-13, 2011

    Another is choosing Jerome Begin to compose the soundtrack (with partner Chris Lancaster) and perform it live. It may be odd to mention music before dance, but it is such an integral part of the evening that it seems most important. That said, Keigwin newcomer Ryoji Sasamoto, as the outsider protagonist, dances like no one else can and often steals attention when he is onstage. Even having seen it, I can't explain how he manages to flip standing in place, forward and back, but not landing on his feet until he is standing again, like a ball of acrobatic water on a hot griddle.

    Yes, there is plenty of gay cruising and boys throwing and pinning each other against a black wall, and boy-girl couples doing some of the same, but people lighting cigarettes onstage is about as close to dark as things get. This isn't a knock; Larry Keigwin just doesn't do dark. As assistant choreographer Liz Riga points out in a postdance panel, "everyone has a dark side, but no one wants to talk about it." Dark habits are alluded to, and there is a definite night feel to most of the piece, but even when a struggle between two men leaves one lying on the floor, it seems like the prone one is more in a k-hole than damaged.

    Liz Riga in Larry Keigwin: Exit  
    Photo by Christopher Duggan  
    Liz Riga
      
    'This is show biz, honey' is the aesthetic that makes Keigwin irresistible, like the Fosse of All That Jazz. Aaron Carr rocking six-inch silverglitter heels and a long mesh shirt, to a forties-sounding song about "I gotta be me," is the predominant feel of the evening. Louche never gets in the way of flash and sparkle. And boy, can the girls sparkle; sections featuring the three women dancing are the most exciting, often instigated or marked by the arrival of Sasamoto, no slouch himself. Ashley Browne and Kristina Hanna, with Riga, are a force onstage, and Browne especially is capable of blowmeaway dancing. Gary Schaufeld and Matthew Baker bring gymnast qualities and seamless partnering to complete the mix.

    White heels in black light also make a good show, with all seven onstage in a group section that feels like a trippy fantasy of watching disembodied feet dance. Keigwin credits Scotty the Blue Bunny for doing it first, in clubland. But individual segments aside, the whole evening has a lovely arc and flow, both choreographically and musically. Rhythmic loops with whispers and industrial pounding give way to strings give way to a slinky R and B jam gives way to a hands-in-the-air nightclub pound. There is continual push and pull in the movement and the music, giving things good tension and good release.

    After streamers pop across the stage from above, left and right for the climactic group clubdance, they make a good symbol of afterparty debris, as the evening ends and the people onstage do what they do at the end of a night. While the others are thus busy, Sasamoto walks slowly to a spotlight near front, pauses significantly, and exits through the door in the back wall, leaving the others, and maybe the dark habits, behind.

    MARCH 15, 2011
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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