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    2016-2017 reviews:

  •  REVIEW: GWEN GUSSMAN: NOURISHMENT

    Gwen Gussman: Nourishment
    Photo by Jeffrey Lee

    What Does It Feel Like to Grow Up?

    Gwendolyn Gussman poses the question as part of her Nourishment series

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com

    "What Does It Feel Like to Grow Up", Gwendolyn Gussman's latest question/installment of her Nourishment series, has many moving parts, including the audience, and ultimately gives food for thought.

      
    GWEN GUSSMAN: NOURISHMENT
    Choreography by: Gwendolyn Gussman.
    Dancers: Gwendolyn Gussman, Jett Kwong Kelly, Trevor New, Nico Gonzales, Mara Driscoll, Carly Krulee, Patrick Needham.
    Music by: Jett Kwong Kelly, Trevor New.
    Set design by: Anna Driftmier.
    Lighting design by: Aja M. Jackson.
    Chef: Collin Wagner.
     SCHEDULE
    Planta Baja
    September 21, 2017

    The bones of the show consist of feeding the audience bits of food and drink alongside bits of dialog and dance, with musical interludes and some setting changes and mystery. History and context play large roles, intentionally and unintentionally. The performers are young enough that, as each entering audience member writes down 3 words describing growing up, the audience helps the performers answer the question, even as the performers tell their own stories about growing up.

    Things flow well enough, and the music of Jett Kwong Kelly and Trevor New adds quite a bit to the overall feel of the evening, she with tasty Chinese harp and song, he with violin and electronics. The dancers are earnest and committed, and the setting is ambiguous enough to pique curiosity on its own. Which raises the first of many thoughts — what is the story of this space, in historically Black Bedford-Stuyvesant? Stepping over a security bar to enter gives it an industrial feel, as does a certain post-renovation roughness. What happened, or didn't, for instance, in the outdoor space in the back, which worked well on the Indian Summer night of the show? Do the neighbors think it bizarre or blessing to have a performance space there now?

    Gwen Gussman: Nourishment
    Photo by Jeffrey Lee

    Stories are the meat of the show, after all, and some resonate more than others. Sometimes the disconnect between one performer weeping through a tough recounting of a very real event and another having abstract thoughts about an unclear concept give audience a way to empathize or muse on what it means to perform. Sometimes young concerns seem very first-world-problem, and sometimes young struggles translate as timeless. Unevenness is part of the evening, but there is some consistency to the angst each performer brings.

    What does it feel like to grow up is such an open-ended and subjective question that it can only generate more questions, but question generation is a solid accomplishment for a dance performance.

    OCTOBER 3, 2017
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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