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    Lane Gifford: Aurélien Peillex, Laurena Santos, Mary Page Nance, Dave Scarantino in Raw Directions 2013
    Photo by Lexi Namer
    Lane Gifford: Aurélien Peillex, Laurena Santos, Mary Page Nance, Dave Scarantino

    Five for Five

    Raw Directions at DNA gets it right


    Solomons' wisdom must have helped 2013's RAWdirections. Five pieces in five styles felt like they belonged in the same show, and artistic advisor Gus Solomons Jr. may be the one to blame. Each piece shared focus and clarity and felt fully explored.

    Choreography by: Pascal Rekoert, David Appel, Anne Zuerner, Lane Gifford, Megan Bascom.
    Dancers: Rekoert: Kathryn Allen, Tamrin Goldberg, Pascal Rekoert, Melissa Erin Strain, Gregory Youdan Jr.
    Appel: Ava Heller, Jenni Hong, Hannah Seidel, Darla Stanley, David Appel
    Zuerner: Erin Cairns Cella, Zoe Rabinowitz, Phoebe Rose Sandford
    Gifford: Justin Dominic, Mary Page Nance, Aurélien Peillex, Laurena Santos, Dave Scarantino, Joseph Wamp
    Bascom: Anna Barker, Carly Berrett, Robin Cherof, Sammy Donahue, Simon Thomas-Train, Ben Wolk
    Music by: Galen Bremer for Anne Zuerner, Cale Hawkins for Megan Bascom.
    Costumes by: Lia Bonfilio for Megan Bascom.
    Lighting design by: Amanda K. Ringger.
    Artistic Advisor: Gus Solomons Jr..
    Dance New Amsterdam
    January 30 to February 2, 2013

    Pascal Rekoert goes for broad comedy in Charles. Two women and three men, or the opposite, mix it up. One character in three bodies has two women fighting, wondering and finally colluding, though it's hard to say who's fooling whom by the end. Large, clean movement keeps this lively. Rekoert as the central character, in bowler and mustache and an expects-to-be-served mien, has the ladies fawning and fighting over him, even after he leaves. When the same "character" comes back child- or smallwoman-sized, things get a little different, and by the time a third, dashing version of this Chaplinesque man is onstage, all bets are off. It stays corny fun throughout, with vivid performances by all.

    Anne Zuerner: L-R, Phoebe Sandford, Zoe Rabinowitz, Erin Cairns Cella in Raw Directions 2013
    Photo by Lexi Namer
    Anne Zuerner: L-R, Phoebe Sandford, Zoe Rabinowitz, Erin Cairns Cella

    David Appel takes the opposite tack in Five by Five (moon she be struttin). Everything is subtle and almost delicate, and Appel's presence on stage is minimal. The quartet of Ava Heller, Jenni Hong, Hannah Seidel and Darla Stanley play with little scenarios and little character sketches. Clothing tones from teal to blue put the four in the same color range but allow each to be unique. Siedel puts sparkling fire into her movements and Heller and Stanley feel similarly active, while Hong uses more hand and facial gestures to communicate. There is a pleasant, friendly quality to all the interactions but also an underlying energy that keeps blandness away. Appel's solo has some of the same quality but feels small compared to the quartet pieces.

    Anne Zuerner creates an atmospheric Light House lit mainly by small fluorescent striplights spread maze-like on the floor, danced by a trio of women. There is a mesmerizing, Philip Glass quality to Light House; subtle shifts slowly take movement from minimal to hearty, with original music by Galen Bremer both driving and melting the action. Costumes by Zuerner are well chosen also; solid-color tights of blue, aqua, and green — a small range along a continuum — mirror the similar but distinct looks of the three dancers, and singlet tops with shimmering cream disks tie the three together. Only at the end do we realize how much dancing the three have been doing in an almost continual evolution of almost continuous movement.

    Megan Bascom: L-R, Simon Thomas-Train, Ben Wolk, Anna Barker, Carly Berrett, Robin Cherof, Sammy Donahue in Raw Directions 2013
    Photo by Lexi Namer
    Megan Bascom: L-R, Simon Thomas-Train, Ben Wolk, Anna Barker, Carly Berrett, Robin Cherof, Sammy Donahue

    Lane Gifford packs delicious movement into land•scape n. but breaks things up beautifully with anxious speaking and relaxed running; the combination is breathtakingly good. She also chooses music well, tossing in a spicy throwdown section that drips street energy and amps the landscape. The movers are exceptional; the men move with silky power and the women with solid electricity. Even in this company, David Scarantino stands out for his flow and buttery extension at full speed. The speaking bits are just odd enough to keep us focused, with dancers lining up to deliver stammering expressions of need and yearning to an onstage microphone. Something deeply exciting is happening here.

    Megan Bascom says This is No Waltz in the last piece of the show. It isn't a waltz; it is more like a healthy conversation in a physical language that is still evolving. Bascom plays with connection, aggression and camaraderie among a group of six that is split visually into a green trio and a red trio. Though the color types imply teams, individuals go in and out of groups in a way that makes us versus them unlikely. There is quite a bit of contact and rugged interaction that has all onstage panting and sweating by the end, but also plenty of amusing and ambiguous gestures that have more nuance. One favorite has dancers greeting or talking to each other with small smacks with the back of their hands, a gesture both friendly and space-invading — and typical of the whole piece.

    FEBRUARY 5, 2013

    Reader comments on Raw Directions 2013:

  • DNA's RawDirections - This is what I like to hear.   from Catherine A. Peila, Feb 7, 2013

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