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    2016-2017 reviews:

  •  REVIEW: DANIEL GWIRTZMAN: THE ORACLE

    Daniel Gwirtzman: The Oracle
    Photo by Stephen Delas Heras

    Circular Tension

    Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company 15th Anniversary Season at BAM Fisher

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com

    Daniel Gwirtzmann's The Oracle leaves me conflicted — about a dance of concentrated collaboration. The efforts of thirteen good dancers dancing their hearts and lungs out for over an hour leave only a blur, and relief that they can rest, when it ends.

      
    DANIEL GWIRTZMAN: THE ORACLE
    Choreography by: Daniel Gwirtzman.
    Dancers: Jonathan Alsberry, Courtney Baron, Amanda Blauer, Daniel Gwirtzman, Kenneth Higginbotham, Gary W. Jeter II, Justin Keats, Tess Montoya, Maya Petty, Brittany Posas, Or Reitman, Aslan Rolston, Anna Schon, Jarel Waters.
    Music by: Jeff Story.
    Costumes by: Anna-Alisa Belous.
    Lighting design by: Carolyn Wong.
    Production stage manager: Bailey Costa.
     SCHEDULE
    BAM Fisher
    May 30-June 1, 2014

    The Oracle, choreographed to mark the 15th anniversary of Gwirtzman's dance company, aims for everything and arrives closer to nothing to hold onto or remember. Yes, Gwirtzman opens with a solo and then starts a tiny motif of semaphore arm communication with Jonathan Alsberry as they each stand at an entrance to the performance space — a large circle ringed by audience chairs — and the ensuing duet is enhanced by Alsberry's supple movement. And yes, at some times there is a communal feel and at others a feel of disparate groups coming together for some codified ritual. There are countless couple/group interactions with partners lifting each other up or through. There is an ambiguous erotic/fertility factor in a slouched-back, open-crotched position that all or most assume, pointed toward the center, at least once. A faceoff between the two smallest dancers toward the end has some spice but no sparks. And things end softly, peacefully, in dying light.

    Jonathan Alsberry, Anna Schon, Daniel Gwirtzman in Daniel Gwirtzman: The Oracle  
    Photo by Anna Kuzmina  
    Jonathan Alsberry, Anna Schon, Daniel Gwirtzman
      
    But other than by following a favorite dancer, it is difficult to maintain focus in this epic-length story. The soft focus is apparent in Gwirtzman's description: "Not rooted in any specific history, event, or time, The Oracle represents a continuum of gatherings, which repeatedly define our individual and collective experiences, and, as such, push us forever onward in the cycle of life."

    Undoubtedly some love the kinetic onslaught of The Oracle. The quality and commitment of the dancers are evident. At the same time, remembering and executing the density of movement looks like a continual task for the performers; at no point do they look relaxed and free, though simply avoiding collisions requires constant vigilance here. The Oracle may fulfill the wishes of some and make an exhausting journey for others.

    JUNE 3, 2014
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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