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  •  REVIEW: BLOOM: CITY

    L-R: Moreno Solinas, Tímea Sebestyén, Igor Urzelai, Csaba Molnár, Viktória Dányi in Bloom: City
    Photo by Puskel Zsolt
    L-R: Moreno Solinas, Tímea Sebestyén, Igor Urzelai, Csaba Molnár, Viktória Dányi

    Something Always Spoils the Fun

    BLOOM! Brings a dark City to Abrons

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com

    'Hey, we're taking our clothes off and having fun!' is the vibe as the five dancers of BLOOM! strip down and march around nude to happy marching band music. Only after the music ends does this seem odd or awkward. This play between fun, awkwardness and eventually darkness gives City breadth and depth, but by the end, hostility and misery are stronger than fun.

      
    BLOOM: CITY
    Choreography by: Viktória Dányi, Csaba Molnár, Tímea Sebestyén, Alberto Ruiz Soler, Moreno Solinas, Igor Urzelai.
    Dancers: Viktória Dányi, Csaba Molnár, Tímea Sebestyén, Moreno Solinas, Igor Urzelai.
    Sound design by: Alberto Ruiz Soler.
    Lighting design by: Kata Dézsi.
    Company manager: Anikó Rácz.
     SCHEDULE
    Abrons Arts Center
    April 27 and 28, 2012

    An efficient but courteous computer voice directs the audience to turn off cell phones before the show begins — a mildly silly but unremarkable take on the standard preshow announcement. Little do we suspect that City will be directed by Siri's hateful brother HAL, who seems to have survived his 2001 space odyssey and landed in this City to torment and abuse its dwellers.

    Before any of that is clear, though, much of the show is innocent and fun, with darkness only lurking or dormant. After the marching music, the dancers, after dressing again, slump and flank the stage on chairs, unmotivated and unmoving. The computer voice/overlord gets them up again, but the initial play of the dancers is freeform, with little bits of contagious dance phrases passing among them in friendly cooperation and competition.

    Gradually, the computer gets more demanding but remains fairly funny, directing a couple to sit down and stand up for an overlong time, at an overfast pace, then directing them to kiss, until they begin to really enjoy that and the computer commands the others to break this up. Another fun segment has the computer throwing out adjectives like athletic, married, homosexual, horny — and the dancers raising their hands to claim them.

    On one level, City is a tale of the loss of innocence and the gain of shame. Whether cities, computers or human nature is responsible for this is never settled, but the progression is brutal. Near the end, a naked dancer — who has mistakenly undressed as the others stay clothed — is berated and insulted until the others have excluded her and she has become a cowering lump on the floor. "Other"-ness and xenophobia have become important, and any sense of tolerance is left hanging by a thread as a sole male dancer dares to stay naked as the lights come down.

    MAY 8, 2012
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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