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      Nicole Smith in Wave Rising 2011
      Photo by Mariana Perera
      Nicole Smith
    It Was a Good Evening

    Program C of the 2011 Wave Rising Series


    Wave Rising series choreographers are blessed or cursed with a half-hour slot to show their work. It is often the first chance they have had to show work of that length; some thrive and some fail. The 2011 Program C thrived.

    Opener Johannes Wieland made a step toward coherence with newyou, even if it is still hard to wrap one's head around. newyou introduces a nagging question just below the curiosity and suspense it engenders: why? But that may be, in part, the point Wieland is making; things in life often present themselves as absurd or worse, and we have little choice but to process them and digest them into something that makes sense or is at least manageable. Wieland's program notes explain "newyou explores my fascination with deceit towards achieving a positive state we call happiness."

    WAVE RISING 2011
    Choreography by: Allison Jones, Nicole Smith, Johannes Wieland, Yin Yue.
    Dancers: Wieland: Jon Guymon, Eva Mohn, Kristin Osler, Beth Griffith
    Jones: Jordan Isadore, Hayley Jones, Francheska Lopez, Kei Tsuruharatani, Yin Yue
    Smith: Alex Biegelson, Tyner Dumortier
    Yue: Carson Reiners, Fanny Gombert, Allison Jones, Mistral Hay
    White Wave John Ryan Theater
    October 27, 2011

    Onstage, the cast works well, with adept blonde-German dancers Eva Mohn and Kristin Osler doing the bulk of the movement. Bits involving people speaking or lip-synching into dead mics are a little clumsy, but a scene with a seated Mohn beckoning an uninterested Osler over to massage her leg has some heft. As Osler's massages get progressively more rough and abusive, Mohn prattles on about how she appreciates Osler's brusque manner and thinks they should perhaps get involved, go on a date — self-deception as defense, or (program note) "Is the presence of denial and its diversified outcomes necessarily a bad thing?"

    Allison Jones' Hypomaniac opens beautifully, in gloaming light, as five dancers as one sweep soft circles with a foot. In dark-ambient music, dancers fall softly, get up, fall harder, or convulse and twist softly. Soft, troubled tension and sorrow give this section flavor and mystery. A middle section is all happy and, well, manic, in bright light and moods, to music singing "bailla, bailla, bailla" (dance, dance, dance). Then, as Yin Yue makes finger-binoculars, the others loll and roll on the floor and darkness returns for her solo, to music with more rasp. The cast — Jordan Isadore, sister Hayley Jones, Francheska Lopez, Kei Tsuruharatani and Yue — are brilliant. Lopez moves tasty and funny, with fluidity, and Jordan Isadore takes Jones' movement and makes it male and exciting, with quick-curving torso and lofting leaps. A Jordan/Haley duet after an Isadore solo is sweet and cool, and this energy carries through the rest of the piece, with a puts-a-smile-on-your-face group groove to take us out.

    Allison Jones Dance, L-R: Kei Tsuruharatani, Francheska Lopez, Hayley Jones, Yin Yue in Wave Rising 2011
    Photo by Mariana Perera
    Allison Jones Dance, L-R: Kei Tsuruharatani, Francheska Lopez, Hayley Jones, Yin Yue

    Here again, it is worth quoting the program notes: "Hypomaniac is an abstract, stark and yet deeply personal examination of mania and its various states of manifestation in the human mind; how it affects relationships; and wht happens when not managed efficiently. The dynamic cast of five will pull you in and take you for a ride through the barely-navigable pathways of the subconscious pyche."

      Allison Jones and Fanny Gombert in Wave Rising 2011
      Photo by Harel Rintzler
      Allison Jones and Fanny Gombert
    Nicole Smith's two pieces felt deepest. Her duet murmured has become a tender, strong, sweeping male-male duet between Alex Biegelson and Tyner Dumortier, two large men who move with remarkable smoothness even as, for instance, Biegelson spins in place holding an arching/curving Dumortier who almost encircles him. The two melt into and off of each other, taking turns supporting the other physically/emotionally. The glow between them warms the theater.

    And every inch of space moves in and out of Smith's body as she dances her solo pretty Polly. She summons ancient spirits/feelings with help from the deep chanting of "Koyanisqaatsi" in the Philip Glass music for the eponymous movie. She is rooted into the ground and tapped into the collective psyche as waves ripple through her, emanating and receiving energy.

    Allison Jones does much the same in Yin Yue's Something hasn't been said about me, moving as pure and clear as sorrow. She is impossible not to watch, taking Yue's movement and making it both personal and universal. Something begins and ends intriguingly. Dancers standing loosely grouped in low light move one by one by one into unison until all move together with a soft rodeo-lasso motion like cowgirls riding herd, to open. A tense ambience, through music and mood, dominates early. A sweet and slightly humorous bodykissing section breaks the tension nicely, with Jones kissing a willing Fanny Gombert wherever Gombert directs her to. A tense, angular solo by Mistral Hay leads into another saddled-up section, all bouncing from foot to foot and elbow-punching the air in synch. And the ending, after a fakeout blackout, has uncharacteristic but welcome lightness, to music with lyrics and a groove, but it ends teasingly quickly, leaving us energized and wanting more.

    NOVEMBER 7, 2011

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