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  •  REVIEW: BANANA PEEL DANCE: DINNER PARTY

    Brian Hotaling, Aaron Draper, Carolyn Usanis in front of (l-r) Caprice Abowitt, Felecia Kutch, Danita Shaheen, Remi Harris, Pearl Marasigan in Banana Peel Dance: Dinner Party
    Photo by Jeff Almquist
    Brian Hotaling, Aaron Draper, Carolyn Usanis in front of (l-r) Caprice Abowitt, Felecia Kutch, Danita Shaheen, Remi Harris, Pearl Marasigan

    Old-School New World

    Banana Peel Dance gives a Post-Apocalyptic Dinner Party at University Settlement

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com

    Banana Peel Dance, as its name implies, revels in silly humor in Post-Apocalyptic Dinner Party, but in between the comic interludes that skewer political correctness and American eating habits, there is plenty of poplocking, dancing and fun.

      
    BANANA PEEL DANCE: DINNER PARTY
    Choreography by: Aaron Draper and Kimberly Almquist.
    Dancers: Sage Caprice Abowitt, Kimberly Almquist, Jenny Boissiere, Aaron Draper, Remi Harris, Nicole Gendel, Brian Hotaling, Christina Johnson, Felecia Kutch, Nicholas Leichter, Pearl Marasigan, Nobuya Nagahama, Amanda Nord, Jessica Sander, Danita Shaheen, Bryan Strimpel, Keon C. Thoulouis, Carolyn Usanis, Eliza Wiener.
    Music by: Mauricio Alexander (live) and various.

    Related links: Mauricio Alexander
     SCHEDULE
    University Settlement
    May 18 and 19, 2012

    With 16 dance segments and 19 performers, this is a show with many moving parts. It is a messy party, usually intentionally so. The whole-group segments are especially fun — at the opening, in a slow-motion group fight and for the finale.

    Well-chosen music, though often too loud, drives the show along, especially the live performances by Mauricio Alexander for the intro section and for the highlight trio of Aaron Draper, Nicholas Leichter and Bryan Strimpel. Alexander's original song, "Live Like Angels," is catchy and inspirational, and it beautifully offsets the rugged trio with rhythmic dexterity and a fine vocal.

    The energy and presence of Pearl Marasigan is a unifying and welcome thread over the course of the party, and Draper and Kimberly Almquist are reliable energy sources, too. There is a bit of a narrative in the interludes between dance segments by a bickering and progressively inebriated couple, but the gist is hazy like them; their job is clearly comic relief.

    Kim Almquist and Aaron Draper in Banana Peel Dance: Dinner Party
    Photo by Jeff Almquist
    Kim Almquist and Aaron Draper

    Other favorite segments are: the aggressive, slinky duet between Keon C. Thoulouis and Christina Johnson to the badass Bowie song "I'm Afraid of Americans"; the three segments under the title Mixtape with lots of popping and locking and some James Brown; and the extended group jam to the Beastie Boys' "Shake Your Rump."

    Draper and Almquist do a good job of building and pacing this dinner party to its feel-good ending. Playful, chaotic democracy and comfort with oblivion seem to be their post-apocalyptic vision.

    MAY 24, 2012
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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