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  •  REVIEW: THE MEDIAN MOVEMENT: X

    The Median Movement: X
    Photo by Eric Bandiero

    Two Fun

    Xan and Alex solve X at The Tank

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com

    X, like the letter used as a variable in math, is a duet that can invite solutions to many equations or remain an unsolved variable. Either way, the duo of Xan Burley (she) and Alex Springer (he) perform with amazing physicality in mindmeld synch whether they are moving together or manipulating each other, in their first evening-length duet.

      
    THE MEDIAN MOVEMENT: X
    Choreography by: Xan Burley and Alex Springer.
    Dancers: Xan Burley and Alex Springer.
    Lighting design by: Trey Tatum.
    Sound score edit: Alex Springer.

    Related links: Alex and Xan
     SCHEDULE
    The Tank
    March 30-April 1, 2012

    Like a video loop, the two run to chairs onstage over and over, beginning closer to the stage each time until, as if finally conquering the loop, one pulls the other onstage so both can begin onstage and proceed with things. Things are often vaguely confrontational but highly coordinated, as in the sequences where she leanfalls toward him and he handstops her by: left shoulder; right shoulder; head; and belly. Impacts and speed pick up until things become semiviolent and rampant stomping suggests anger. We begin to wonder where this is headed. We never really stop wondering where things are headed, and that is one of the successes of the piece. Their faces betray little throughout, so we are mostly left to guess at their emotions and intentions.

    The Median Movement: X
    Photo by Eric Bandiero

    Endlessly inventive play with catch and release, drop and catch, lift and drop are ambiguously combative and manipulative. Who wants control? Who wants to leave? This could be the constantly shifting dynamics of a romantic couple or something simpler. What looks like a choreographed lap dance could be less sexual and more about control — or is that the point of a lap dance anyway?

    Things shift seamlessly and imperceptibly, sometimes in silence and sometimes to music or sounds. Church bells, if memory serves, bring the first break from silence and the first mystery of "x", this time the x scratched on his naked back by her fingers, over and over, in what may or may not refer to the pain of religious penitence. Like everything in X, possible interpretations abound. The soundtrack, predominantly classical music cycled with silence, is an integral part of X but never an obtrusive one — always a sign of a soundtrack success.

    The Median Movement: X
    Photo by Eric Bandiero

    Light plastic folding chairs and a light cotton handkerchief are metaphors for more, or not. The chairs give her things to orchestrate or possibly "people" to exhort. The handkerchief seems to be an offering of some sort that comes from nowhere, as many offerings do. One favorite scene has him catching chairs as fast as she can throw them and setting them up in a staggered pattern. The two of them then echo the beginning and run in to sit on two chairs at a time, until they reach the last two and there are...one. The urgency, repetition and conundrum sum the piece neatly.

    The handkerchief, well, probably also sums the piece with its mysterious, randomly occuring presence. He takes it out, presents it to her, she gives it back, several times over the course of the piece, in increasingly formal variations. Only at the end does he take it out, present it to her and... she takes a similar one from her pocket — a resolution, subject to interpretation, but good enough for them, as they leave together chanting "as we go, this we know." They have solved x for themselves and left us to decide which equation it solves for us.

    APRIL 3, 2012
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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