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      Sara Elizabeth Seger in <i>Dangerous</i> in Lincoln Center Kenan Fellows
      Photo by Quinn Batson
      Sara Elizabeth Seger in Dangerous
    Aural History, Full of Life

    Kenan fellow collaborations shine at Lincoln Center


    Take young dance talents. Pair them with established choreographers. Create good new work. This is the mission of Lincoln Center Institute and University of North Carolina School of the Arts as they pair up, with the generous support of the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust, to produce new Kenan Fellows each year and show their work in the Clarke Studio Theater at Lincoln Center.

    Amanda Hinchey turns interviews into soundtrack and background for her lively duet with Sara Elizabeth Seger, with the musical help of composer Gregory Hoffman and mentor help from Deborah Lohse. Everything Potent is Dangerous is an interesting title for the piece; the interviews are colorful and cleverly edited to keep them fresh, but they are hardly dangerous. They do, however, contain potent seeds of knowledge about the subjects' backgrounds and life experiences. These seeds linger in the viewer's mind as the piece goes on, pushed out or added to as more seeds come with more interviews.

    Choreography by: Amanda Hinchey, Kathryn Logan.
    Dancers: Hinchey: Amanda Hinchey and Sara Elizabeth Seger
    Logan: Katy Gilmore, Dale Harris, and Aaron McGloin
    musicians: Kayla Herrmann, Taya Ricker, Daniel Winnick and Brittany Zellman, with Andrew Motten
    Music by: Gregory Hoffman.
    Lighting design by: Emily McGillicuddy.
    Mentors: Deborah Lohse, Lynn Neuman, Jessica Meyer, Lisa Kozenko, Melissa Gawlowski, Heidi Miller, José Vélez.
    Clarke Studio Theater, Lincoln Center
    January 21-23, 2011

    There is a beautifully organic flow to the dancing and the soundtrack. Often the dancing, either solo or in unison duet, is very quick, with a circular groundwork pattern that feels like vertical dancing turned upside down, and scything arms and legs in both right-side-up and upside-down movement. But there are plenty of spaces to let stillness and interviews in, and subtle adjustments in the movement acknowledge and reflect the soundtrack just enough.

    Lighting by Emily McGillicuddy helps things flow as well, progressing from separate spotlights to colorful sidelight to white light that casts Hinchey's shadowdouble onto the back wall. Tension between personal isolation and community togetherness are hinted at in both lighting and interviews, without ever coming into distracting focus; once again a feeling of seeds lingering and growing is accomplished with subtlety.

    Amanda Hinchey in Lincoln Center Kenan Fellows
    Photo by Quinn Batson
    Amanda Hinchey

    For in the end, each interviewee has made a journey away from their roots and into the larger world. The small, tight communities they come from look odd to them in retrospect but made sense growing up, and this inherent sense has helped them as they negotiate new social and emotional territory. Each seems healthy and grounded despite the clear effort it must have taken to overcome group expectations and break out on their own. The large cast shadows on the back wall illustrate this, perhaps — the small, bright light of the past shines on the present person and projects an even bigger, bolder person. Simple and subtle propel Dangerous and give it quiet staying power after the lights go down.

    The second dance piece in this year's group is Kathryn Logan and Kaylan Hermann's The Orchard, with Logan choreographing movement onstage and Hermann choreographing onstage string quartet music. The combination is a good one.

    Aaron McGloin, Dale Harris and Katy Gilmore in <i>Orchard</i> in Lincoln Center Kenan Fellows
    Photo by Quinn Batson
    Aaron McGloin, Dale Harris and Katy Gilmore in Orchard

    Logan gives her dancers — Katy Gilmore, Dale Harris, and Aaron McGloin — fast, dense movement as well as time to relax and, perhaps, contemplate. The dancing is physical and impressive, tribal in spirit and energy. If these dancers are trees in an evolving orchard, this orchard has a lot of life.

    And though the music is composed by others, Hermann does a masterful job of choosing and performing, with exceptional playing by Taya Ricker, Daniel Winnick and Brittany Zellman as her partners in the string quartet and by Andrew Motton in a guitar solo.

    The result is lush and full. Though projections on the back wall are possibly unnecessary but abstract enough to add more flavor than distraction, and the dancers lie like fallen trees for a noticeably long time at the end, the beauty of the last string music absorbs every bit of audience attention and leaves a glow.

    JANUARY 29, 2011

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