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  •  REVIEW: DAON DANCE: ROOT

    L-R: JinJu Song-Begin, Marija Obradovic, Maria Duarte (obscured), Rohan Bhargava, Doron Perk in DaOn Dance: Root
    Photo by David Gonsier
    L-R: JinJu Song-Begin, Marija Obradovic, Maria Duarte (obscured), Rohan Bhargava, Doron Perk

    Root for the Future

    Da-On Dance presents Root at Peridance Center

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com

    Root is an intriguing dance by Da-On Dance and JinJu Song-Begin. An underlying theme of inclusion and exclusion fits the political times, and joyfulness looks to a brighter future.

      
    DAON DANCE: ROOT
    Choreography by: JinJu Song-Begin.
    Dancers: JinJu Song-Begin, Rohan Bhargava, Maria Duarte, Marija Obradovic, Doron Perk.
    Music by: Jerome Begin performed with violinist Jennifer Choi.
    Costumes by: JinJu Song-Begin.
    Lighting design by: Tuce Yasak.
     SCHEDULE
    Salvatore Capezio Theater at Peridance Center
    October 15 and 16, 2016

    Before we can sit, composer and collaborator Jerome Begin leads the audience through a series of qualifications that divide us into separate groups. 'Those who have traveled to another country in the last 6 months, go to this side; those who haven't, this side.' It is fascinating that either by design or chance, each person spends approximately equal time in each group. The takeaway seems to be that we are more similar than different, and that arbitrary criteria that separate us are unnecessary and unhelpful.

    As performers enter through opposing lines formed by the last-formed audience groups, they subtly move and interact with the lines until the lines are blurred, and it would be hard to say who was in each line initially. If there is another takeaway here, it may be that we are easily led sheep. This amorphous, blurry quality is somehow both unnerving and comforting, and it extends to other portions of the dance.

    DaOn Dance: Root
    Photo by David Gonsier

    "Root" refers both to our root humanity and to the root origins of each performer, who are all born outside the United States. As each performer voices phrases and writes them on long strips of paper that line the edges of the performance space created by a square of audience chairs, they also share their names, heritage, personal details and anecdotes of their journeys. They dance us through these journeys with their own charming movement phrases.

    After the personal ID section, time feels amorphous and a little meandering, but it is a lulling period, helped along by the improvisation and interplay between violinist Jennifer Choi and Jerome Begin, who is looping and modifying the sounds that come from her violin with his computer.

    Eventually, though, both the movement and the music heat up, in rhythm and intensity, until bodies are flying and the beat is driving. The joy in the last third of Root builds and builds, and the spring and Spring in dancers Rohan Bhargava, Maria Duarte, Marija Obradovic and Doron Perk is infectious. JinJu Song-Begin choreographs and dances some flat-out physicality for the finale of Root, with enough leaps and lifts to give an edge of danger, too.

    The progression from slow and quiet to driving and joyous is seamless and wholly satisfying, and we leave Root smiling.

    OCTOBER 30, 2016
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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