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    L-R: Cynthia Hopkins, Katy Orthwein in Katy Orthwein and Aaron McGloin
    Photo by Steven Schreiber
    L-R: Cynthia Hopkins, Katy Orthwein

    Two Take Root

    Aaron McGloin and Katy Orthwein share an evening at Green Space


    Aaron McGloin and Katy Orthwein shared an evening at Green Space, as part of the space's Take Root series. Both mined an idea fully, one via solos and the other through musical collaboration. It is a pleasure to see a venue give such a shot to two worthy choreographers.

    Choreography by: Aaron McGloin, Katy Orthwein.
    Dancers: Aaron McGloin
    Katy Orthwein, Jean Freebury, Minna Liimatainen, Jessica Weiss
    Music by: Cynthia Hopkins (Orthwein).
    Costumes by: Joy Havens (Orthwein).

    Related links: Green Space
    Green Space
    December 4 and 5, 2015

    If I've ever seen anyone pull off a half-hour dance solo, I can't recall it. Aaron McGloin gives this feat a shot but falls a little short despite giving it his all. It doesn't mean the six solos he concatenated into one are lacking; half an hour is just too long to savor one flavor, and solos that seem to a creator quite distinctive can be only subtly different to an audience member. Yes, there are obvious differences — in music, in movement emphasis, in props, in energy expended, and McGloin's quicksharp hand/arm isolations and superfast spins/leaps are impressive.

    Neither the richly weighted, anticipation-making slow builds nor the infectious joy of his group pieces is present in these/this solo, though. There is a slightly rigid or brittle quality to McGloin's own moving, which may come from his training background but more likely comes with the territory of having a very long, lean frame. This is a little surprising, though, again, having seen a wider variety of moods, movement and even humor in his group pieces. It seems that focusing on self and personal experience leads McGloin to a more manic, anxious place, with a speedometer that runs between quick and flat-out and leaves out most of the slower speeds.

    Aaron McGloin in Katy Orthwein and Aaron McGloin
    Photo by video grabs
    Aaron McGloin

    Two impressions that stick are the ballet matador quality of How I Thought it was Supposed to Go and this random but interesting music/poetry phrase from Sacred: "He climbed down from the tree the next day — a queen."

    L-R: Katy Orthwein, Jean Freebury, Minna Liimatainen, Jessica Weiss, in <i>Mirage</i> in Katy Orthwein and Aaron McGloin
    Photo by Steven Schreiber
    L-R: Katy Orthwein, Jean Freebury, Minna Liimatainen, Jessica Weiss, in Mirage

    Katy Orthwein begins her section with a solo, and it is immediately compelling. Subtle rolling motions animate her body or emanate from it; the confusion of the two is captivating. Her presence and clarity could probably carry this solo in silence, but Cynthia Hopkins' soundtrack is integral and intriguing, mixing live accordion with recorded narrations and simple music snippets. Hopkins' voiceover description of Orthwein's movements is clever, concise and even funny, but the effect in real time is more poetic or magic. Vanishing Point is an excellent title for this strong solo.

    Jean Freebury, Minna Liimatainen and Jessica Weiss share the same rolling, fluid qualities as Orthwein and form a substantial group of four, in Mirage. More interplay between Hopkins' live performance and recorded music helps create the effect of the title. Shifting combinations of dancers do the same, as three face one, two v. two, one v. one, or all four unite, with invisible transitions. Though much of the movement is soft and delicate, the dancers have a solid quality that sets off the softness well. Hopkins' choices of recorded music, played through the left speaker while she plays live accordion on the audience's right, give the feel of stereo or of a porous audio mirror, with birds, guitar, piano, violin and even slapped bass taking turns. There is so much to like in this mirage.

    DECEMBER 11, 2015

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