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  •  REVIEW: DANCENOW 2018

      TruDee (Deborah Lohse) in DanceNow 2018
      Photo by Yi-Chun Wu
      TruDee (Deborah Lohse)
    Yummy Fun

    DanceNow fills its 15th Year at Joe's Pub, in its 23rd Annual Season

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com


    First impressions matter, even after 15 years, and DanceNow at Joe's Pub got the opening right.

    Doug Gillespie and Nicole Vaughan-Diaz danced the smack out of Kate Weare's duet Bridge of Sighs, a brisk, surprising coupling of full-contact electricity, to open Wednesday night's show and the 2018 run. These two amazing performers project both bedrock stability and razor-edge danger.

    "Any major dude will tell you" Gus Solomons Jr. knows how to pick song, costume and movements to make a big dance from a very small palette. Dude makes great use of Steely Dan(!), letting their crisp but enigmatic lyrics tell a clear mystery that he illustrates mainly with his hands and face.

    DANCENOW 2018
    Choreography by: at least forty.
    Produced by: Robin Staff with Sydney Skybetter.
    Dancers: many dozens.
    Lighting design by: Lauren Parrish.
    Production stage manager: Rachel Jacquin.
    Founding Directors: Robin Staff and Tamara Greenfield.
    Programmng Associate: Ariane Michaud.
     SCHEDULE
    DanceNow at Joe's Pub
    September 5-8, 2018

      
    TruDee, the rare-flower creation of Deborah Lohse, continues to MC the show as only she can, even adding some awkwardness to the squirm-inducing Magnum Opus: The Prelude by Celine. Haunting eyes, by nature and makeup, make Celine's deadpan delivery deeper, as a series of "recordings" document her fall from grace at a pretentious restaurant. She wins the stage as she loses her job.

    Jane Comfort kills society's expectations of women, in Beauty. Ellen Smith Ahern is great as the woman onstage caught in the middle of live commentary/reaction from offstage Leslie Cuyjet and Brandon Washington, as she tries to please and tries to rage.

    And Amber Sloan dances an understated and beautiful duet with Dylan Crossman. xyz is sweet and compelling; Sloan and Crossman complement each other so well and are a simple joy to watch.

    Alexander Davis and Michael Figueroa in DanceNow 2018
    Photo by Yi-Chun Wu
    Alexander Davis and Michael Figueroa

    Timothy Edwards was Wednesday's audience favorite, by applause volume, dancing Nicole Wolcott's This Man, a study in exasperation, or effort, or just being.

    And Brendan Drake and company get many points for being Fabulous, to music by Celine Dion, in This is Desire part II. Quentin Burley, Jordan Demetrius Lloyd, Drake and Shannon Nash are hilarious, equally camp and flash.

    Thursday and Friday were both solid throughout, with plenty of humor and skill in many different flavors. Several of the usual suspects made strong showings this year — Heidi Latsky, TAKE Dance, binbinFactory, LAJAMARTIN and especially Christal Brown come to mind. And Thursday featured a love/breakup bingo game, courtesy of Alexander Davis and Michael Figueroa

      Rock Dance Collective in DanceNow 2018
      Photo by Yi-Chun Wu
      Rock Dance Collective
    Two totally different male solos stood out. Riley Watts pulls off wearing a shiny black unitard, with some old-school SNL Sprockets flavor and beautiful lighting and movement, in Zauberer. And Tsiambwom M. Akuchu sends shivers in Every Man (Alright), pitting slaveryhorror against survivalperseverance with both drama and slinky blasts of hiphop movement.

    Two quartets gave quintessentially quirky Joe'sPub DanceNow performances. We Fear for Your Life has four tapdancers (Subject:Matter) continually amping up the energy to an absurd "Bert the Turtle" song; Ian Berg, with April Nieves, Jackson Clayton and Samantha Emmond, mix things up masterfully and use every inch of the stage, in what feels both classic/vaudeville and inventively modern.

    And the Rock Dance Collective hands-down win belly-laugh funniest, with Exhibit. Four piles of rocks gradually sprout limbs and go for broke, to "I feel pretty" music by Julie Andrews, with follies flair. Cleo Mack choreographs and costumes Kelli McGovern, Mandy Stallings, Becky Visintainer and Kiana Rosa to absurd perfection.

    SEPTEMBER 10, 2018
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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