Constellations and Influences
| ||Photo by Alex Escalante|
| ||Aretha Aoki|
Aretha Aoki and Benjamin Kimitch split an evening at Danspace
By QUINN BATSON
Aretha Aoki took Danspace Project's "Constellations and Influences" theme literally and abstracted it well, on a joint bill with Benjamin Kimitch.
She split her half, Las Gravitas, into two sturdy solos, the first with voiceover by another and the second with her voice, to showcase her softquirky movement, sharpfunny mind and cleargentle voice. Under an artful drone by Ryan MacDonald and a subtle, shifting critique by Cassie Peterson, Aoki repeats a big set of phrases that includes crawling, footcradling and some footstamps to punctuate soft but intriguing movement. Peterson's critic voiceover is half the game in this first solo, sounding at first like someone reading a standard, well thought review from a website or column and then an analysis of Aoki's emotional life and finally a complaint: "a 15-minute solo? Who does she think she is the next Deborah Hay?"
The second solo begins with a bit of dance, until Aoki stops, downstage right, to tell us with deadpan absurdity that she just created the dance section yesterday and then gives a masterful shaggy dog tale to explain how this happened. There is more than a bit of Laurie Anderson's vocal quality to Aoki's delivery, even if this isn't one of her influences. And there is more than a bit of Emily Johnson's influence in the premise and humor of Aoki's tale. So much of Niicugni, the show they did together recently, had both speaking in unison that it is impossible to know how much of the dialogue and style came from Johnson and how much from Aoki. The remainder of Aoki's segment was a factual and fascinating description of some actual star and galaxy discoveries, surprisingly entertaining with Aoki lecturing, though none of the facts stick in mind.
|ARETHA AOKI AND BENJAMIN KIMITCH|
|Choreography by: Aretha Aoki, Benjamin Kimitch.|
Dancers: Aretha Aoki
Kimitch: Julie McMillan and Claire Westby.
Sound design by: Ryan MacDonald for Aoki.
Lighting design by: Kathy Kaufmann.
Text: Cassie Peterson, Aretha Aoki and Ryan MacDonald.
|Danspace Project at St. Marks Church|
February 14-16, 2013
Little of Benjamin Kimitch's section sticks in mind, either, unfortunately. Two fine dancers, Julie McMillan and Claire Westby, move with excruciating slowness for what feels like half an hour, in silence and near-silence. That is a feat in itself, especially when the first five minutes is performed in relevé and whole segments have the two crouched low to the floor. Some viewers likely enjoyed discontinuous sounds; it is pretty and quiet. Many others struggled to keep focused or even awake.
|FEBRUARY 23, 2013|
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