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    One's Trilogy (ft to bk): Nathan Trice, Toni Renee Johnson, Calia Marshall and Alysia Ramos in Nathan Trice: Recognizing Women Project
    Photo by Judith Stuart
    One's Trilogy (ft to bk): Nathan Trice, Toni Renee Johnson, Calia Marshall and Alysia Ramos

    Recognizing overlooked brilliance

    Nathan Trice finds talent for The 2011 Recognizing Women Project


    Nathan Trice's 2011 Recognizing Women Project is the result of 10 years of work and a lifetime of learning about women. He dedicates the the project to his recently passed mother, and this carries some weight; he does not just give lip service to her memory but explores it deeply onstage, in a way that is both respectful and intriguing and somehow mixes clinical and funny.

    Choreography by: Nathan Trice.
    Dancers: Wanjiru Kamuyu, Diamond Roach, Nahila A. Walthour, Naoko Kikuchi, Yusha-Marie Sorzano, Lindsay Fisher, Karina Lesko, Jacqueline Dumas Albert, Elyse Morris, Rhea Patterson, Shani M. Worrell, Thea Grier, Qahirah Kibler, Nathan Trice, Toni Renee Johnson, Alysia Ramos, Calia Marshall, Jasmine Forest, Toni Bernard, Oshini Wanigasekera, Simone Sobers, Katie Ross, Tara Nicolas, Belen Estrada, Alessandra Giambelli, Ayanna Mcpherson, Alicia Woo, Nicole von Arx, Clara Belenus, Cid Nichols, Ashley Capri Duke, Belen Estrada, Laura Colon.
    Music by: Michael Daynna.
    Costumes by: Elenna Commendador, Nathan Trice, Shen Chien-hui, Olu Orondava.
    Lighting design by: Stephen Petrilli.
    Props: Marisa Lowenstien.
    Vocalist: Shani M. Worrell.
    Text: Nathan Trice.
    Kumble Theater, Long Island University
    March 3-6, 2011

    Before getting to his own mother, though, Mothers 2002 imagines the mothers of six famous men at the news of their sons' deaths. It is an impressive collection of solos tied together with group sections, strong on choreography and well cast. Though this concept is a leap of faith and allows some poetic license, each solo is striking and completely distinctive, and each identity makes sense when reading the program after seeing the solos. Naoko Kikuchi dances Ghandi's mom with soft, undulating folds and circularity; Yusha-Marie Sorzano gives Martin Luther King's mom more shaking and drama; Lindsay Fisher gives sharp lines and striking speed and rigidity to a big, bold solo as Hitler's mom; Karina Lesko spins and swoops as Che's mother; Jacqueline Dumas Albert finds sweetness and groundedness in the virgin Mary's agitation; and Elyse Morris moves soft and quick as Tupac's mom in an emotional but controlled bugout. Small personal shrines give each woman a physical object to channel her grief.

    banDrui (L to R): Nahila Walthour and Wanjiru Kamuyu in Nathan Trice: Recognizing Women Project  
    Photo by Judith Stuart  
    banDrui (L to R): Nahila Walthour and Wanjiru Kamuyu
    Before and after Mothers, banDrui 2004 parts 1 and 2 are sweet and well danced, full of soft and sharp movement in soft light, with mottled light on the floor that feels like sunlight filtered through the leaves of trees. Stephen Petrilli puts dramatic accents like these floors into overall soft light in each piece, playing also with deep color or white on the back wall. There is an Indian feel to music by Michael Daynna, and vaguely Indian/middle Eastern movement in the two women dancing, who represent mother and daughter and the exchange between the two as they pass through stages of life.

    The meat of the evening is the work in progress One's Trilogy, which examines the life of Trice's mother, good or bad. Three different women, possibly representing three different aspects of Monica Trice, come to center stage and recite the same text with different deliveries, with the progression of 'wishful thinking' to 'relentless hope' to 'helplessness.' When Trice appears, the women line up behind him, as the voices behind his physical presence and present self. As the four move to a table upstage, things take a turn for the clinical, with Trice donning glasses and reading biographical information about his mother as if from her medical files. This is an excellent way to fill us in on the life of his mother — seemingly detached, with a touch of contextual analysis. She went through schizophrenia and homlessness, and normalcy, and the time the piece spends away from the table is mostly warm remembrances of the times that "It was perfect" between mother and son. It is a beautiful portrait of a complex woman and mother who probably never wanted all the clinical attention she received.

    MOTHERS: Naoko Kikuchi front, with (L and R)
Lindsay Fisher and Elyse Morris in Nathan Trice: Recognizing Women Project
    Photo by Judith Stuart
    MOTHERS: Naoko Kikuchi front, with (L and R) Lindsay Fisher and Elyse Morris

    The piece that wraps up the evening, after a palette-cleansing part 3 of banDrui, is Their Speech Is Silver, Their Silence Is Gold 1997. Eight women move quite slowly, sometimes calmly and sometimes convulsing on the floor, until things build steadily and relentlessly to an ending frenzy and sharp blackout. It is a powerful piece that implies tribal ritual and ripping hearts from selves. Small, fierce Oshi Wanigasekera embodies the heat of the piece like a red-hot ember.

    MARCH 11, 2011

    Reader comments on Nathan Trice: Recognizing Women Project:

  • Great!   from Bryan, Apr 13, 2011

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