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  •  REVIEW: CHRIS SCHLICHTING: STRIPETEASE

    Dustin Maxwell, Tristan Koepke, Max Wirsing in Chris Schlichting: Stripetease
    Photo by Ian Douglas
    Dustin Maxwell, Tristan Koepke, Max Wirsing

    Strong with Soft Landings

    Chris Schlichting brings Stripetease to Danspace

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com

    It's rare that an hourlong dance piece feels like one living, breathing creature, as Chris Schlichting's Stripetease does. Live music plays a large part, and six unique but connected dancers do the rest.

      
    CHRIS SCHLICHTING: STRIPETEASE
    Choreography by: Chris Schlichting.
    Dancers: Tristan Koepke, Pareena Lim, Dustin Maxwell, Dolo McComb, Laura Selle Virtucio, Max Wirsing.
    Music by: Jeremy Ylvisaker and Alpha Consumer/JT Bates and Jim Anton.
    Set design by: Jennifer Davis.
    Costumes by: Chris Schlichting.
    Lighting design by: Joe Levasseur.
     SCHEDULE
    Danspace Project
    October 22-24, 2015

    Stripetease begins as a languid beast, with one, then two, then three men moving softly and silently with gorgeous male femininity, in a dark space with a black backdrop. The duet between Max Wirshing and Dustin Maxwell could be a piece in itself. Initially, they stay apart, mirroring or taking turns, but by the end, they are moving as beautifully as an octopus, in a coordinated pretzel of synchronized arms.

    Things open up and expand subtly — perceptibly but unobtrusively, as when the black backdrop is parted to reveal a wallpaper of vertical stripes. New dancers enter the same way. And yet, as each performer enters, they stride purposefully into place, an interesting contrast to the softness of the movements they assume. This is a multilayered tease.

    Sounds of mysterious origin are also a big tease, likewise subtle and gradually perceptible, looping into shape. Even when the curtain hiding them is pulled open à la Oz, the three musicians responsible remain enigmatic.

    Max Wirsing, Pareena Lim, Dolo McComb in Chris Schlichting: Stripetease
    Photo by Ian Douglas
    Max Wirsing, Pareena Lim, Dolo McComb

    And the softness continues throughout, even as things get more heated and active. Movement that starts strong often ends soft. But Stripetease is never predictable, and a new motif of crisp hand movements appears, to go against the flow and bring some edge. Also unpredictable are the entrances, exits and groupings of the dancers, always right but never obvious. This inflow and outflow become wavelike, as does the entire experience.

    Meanwhile, the space grows vertically and horizontally, as dancers begin appearing up in the balcony and tiger faces (?) appear at the edges of the background. Movement and music also grow in waves; the music gets deeper and more penetrating as the space gets bigger. The sensory onslaught flirts with epic — a true surprise after the supersoft start. This beast has grown from an embryo to a powerhouse in 50 minutes.

    But ultimately, the big day ends and the beast must sleep — one tentative dancer enters as a sentinel in the darkness, as the others retire.

    OCTOBER 28, 2015
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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