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  •  REVIEW: BRYN COHN: SKIN

    Rachel Abrahams approaches a mannequin in Bryn Cohn: Skin
    Photo by Jaqlin Medlock
    Rachel Abrahams approaches a mannequin

    Layers of Confusion

    Bryn Cohn + Artists show Skin at St. Mark's Church

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com

    Having beautiful dancers explore the concept of skin and clothes, or layers of concealment, sounds easy to watch, and on some levels, it is. But Skin in reality is fairly thin, with mystery and gravity but little clarity or emotional spark. Stillness and ponderous motion are offset by interesting and varied movement choices, and Skin is clearly invested with a lot of thought and work by Bryn Cohn and her talented dancers Mike Abbatiello, Rachel Abrahams, Jessica Malat, Nik Owens, Yuliya Romanskaya, and Will Tomaskovic. So it is disappointing to be unmoved, even at the end.

      
    BRYN COHN: SKIN
    Choreography by: Bryn Cohn.
    Dancers: Mike Abbatiello, Rachel Abrahams, Jessica Malat, Nik Owens, Yuliya Romanskaya, and Will Tomaskovic.
    Music by: Kevin Keller.
    Costumes by: Sebastian Arango.
    Lighting design by: Tim Cryan.
     SCHEDULE
    St. Mark's Church
    June 25-27, 2015

    Some of the unsolved mysteries are the mannequins that keep being moved around, disassembled and reassembled and the robots-learning-to-move motif that loops over and over, with increasingly erratic and radical movement. Each "robot" has a minder or puppetmaster that keeps them progressing and prevents them from falling and crashing, which creates a succession of duets, often along a diagonal line, almost as if it were a runway show.

    Odd costumes by Sebastian Arango end up, after elaborately drawn-out layer-stripping sequences, either on the manneqins or at their feet. The costumes are an interesting mix of whimsy and function — outer layers with excess diaphanous ruffles and well-fit undergarments.

    L-R: Nik Owens, Will Tomaskovic, Yuliya Romanskaya (on floor), Rachel Abrahams, Jessica Malat, Mike Abbatiello in Bryn Cohn: Skin
    Photo by Jaqlin Medlock
    L-R: Nik Owens, Will Tomaskovic, Yuliya Romanskaya (on floor), Rachel Abrahams, Jessica Malat, Mike Abbatiello

    The dancers move, when they do, with a hungry urgency and a deadserious mien. This is true whether they are interacting with each other or with the mannequins, which implies the mannequins are equal or even more important than the humans. Lighting by Tim Cryan often makes the mannequins heroes, too. The state of alert and hero mannequins are both unsettling.

    Perhaps the humans get more weight as the clothes go to the mannequins, but the ambience doesn't seem to shift from start to finish, so it's hard to know.

    JULY 12, 2015
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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