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    Bobbi Jene Smith in Current Sessions: 03Savings
    Photo by Corey Melton
    Bobbi Jene Smith

    Exquisite Solos

    Current Sessions' 03 Savings at The Wild Project


    Exquisite isn't a word to use often. The five pieces of Current Sessions' 03:Savings earn the word for different reasons, but each earns it.

    Choreography by: Fana Fraser, Gregory Holt, Katrina Reid, Bobbi Jene Smith.
    Produced by: Alexis Convento.
    Dancers: Paul Chaleff and Ben Hagari (film)
    Fana Fraser, Gregory Holt, Katrina Reid, Bobbi Jene Smith
    Music by: Tim Hecker (Bobbie Jene Smith).
    Lighting design by: Mike Inwood.
    Film: Ben Hagari.
    The Wild Project
    August 20-22, 2016

    Gregory Holt's Movements 2,001-2250 seems exquisitely obsessive. The movements onstage are allegedly the last batch of 2,250 unrepeated movements that make up "a monument to the thousands of performances that make up a life." It begins anxiously in place, but it breaks free and roams across the stage just before anxiety takes over. No one is counting, but there is definitely a wide arc of movement types and qualities, and the end result is an interesting solo piece in silence, never easy to pull off.

    Katrina Reid's f.i.e.l.d. paints a picture of trauma in bold, simple strokes that imply so much. Her voiceover, often stuttering and stumbling, repeats phrases in cycling loops until she speaks it live onstage at the end. Her costume is simple but also implies — African tribewear, rags-for-clothes, or garments torn in an assault. And she moves in subtle synch with the recorded voiceover, troubled and calm, smooth and awkward, never overplaying the words. Reid describes it best: "a fictionalized memory that speaks more truth than facts."

    Fana Fraser in Current Sessions: 03Savings  
    Photo by Corey Melton  
    Fana Fraser
    The subject of Fana Fraser's Stillbirth is clear even without knowing the title, but that doesn't make it less effective or less troubling. Fraser brings us to the small lobby to compound our intimacy, and discomfort. Stillbirth, like f.i.e.l.d., pulls the truth from trauma and touches us. It is wrought but not overwrought, messy without being a mess. Fraser's contortions near the end are striking, but the end is unceremonious and empty, like the title — and the real thing.

      Ben Hagari (in clay and snake) in Current Sessions: 03Savings
      Photo by film still
      Ben Hagari (in clay and snake)
    Potter's Will is a film by Ben Hagari. It is exquisitely weird, and that is high praise. Without trying to, it invokes memories of David Lynch films like Eraserhead. Visually, it is stark but sumptuous. Overamplified sounds of slick-slipping wet clay are quease-inducing but riveting. A very real constrictor snake looks simultaneously dangerous and absurdly out of place, unless it implies biblical stories and the birth of man. From the program description, this film is overthought and absurd, but that doesn't detract from the viewing experience.

    Katrina Reid in Current Sessions: 03Savings  
    Photo by Corey Melton  
    Katrina Reid
    And then there is Bobbi Jene Smith's Desert, which is exquisitely slow and beautiful. The power and control it takes to move this big and this slow, without showing the effort, give grace and beauty to every movement. A thin black dress and toplighting that bounces off the white floor to become underlighting add sensuality to the mix, and softly pretty music, sounding like the desert at night, gives flavor and ambience. It's hard to recall a slower piece that is more mesmerizing, and the brief taste of speed just before the lights go down is tantalizing, too.

    AUGUST 26, 2016

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