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  •  REVIEW: NEWSTEPS 2018

    Lei-Lei Bavoil, Brittany Henry and Sophia Zukoski in Newsteps 2018
    Photo by courtesy of Chen Dance Center
    Lei-Lei Bavoil, Brittany Henry and Sophia Zukoski

    Hey, It Works

    Chen Dance Center's newsteps: a choreographers Series, tries new approach in 2018

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com

    For the 24th(?!) year of Chen Dance Center's newsteps: a choreographers Series, creators who are not dance-trained made pieces with mentor help, and this season's result was as successful as any of the previous series.

      
    NEWSTEPS 2018
    Choreography by: Bryndon Cook, Lauren Oliver, Kate Douglas, Alec Funiciello and Dana Greenfield, Sophia Zukoski.
    Lighting design by: Anna Chen.

    Related links: Chen Dance Center
     SCHEDULE
    Chen Dance Center, April 19-21, 2018

    Sleep is the Cousin of Death is an odd title for a softly beautiful piece that begins and ends with Bryndon Cook in repose in red light. Cook moves well, with fluidity and good musicality, and stays sensibly within his technical limits. Lighting by Anna Chen and original music by Cook work especially well to make this a satisfying short piece.

    feminina is the very apt title for Lauren Oliver's duet for Katie Oliver and Diana Petterson. Film projection of an unclothed woman swaying and swinging her shoulders, shot cropped from mouth to nipples, opens this piece, with the dancers lying on the floor. As the film loops, the dancers begin swaying and swinging their hips in complement to the film, and the initial impression is deeply feminine — soft and supple and sensuous. This impression continues as the dancers reach their feet and continue to move. feminina is lovely but ultimately one-note.

    Bryndon Cook in Newsteps 2018  
    Photo by courtesy of Chen Dance Center  
    Bryndon Cook
      
    Nature/nurture is a brilliant little gem by Kate Douglas, with really fun movement, ideas and performance. The protagonist is a potted plant, to give some sense of the whimsy, but this plant sings beautifully to open the piece. Douglas moves as well as any dancer and keeps us curious to the end, while old songs and snippets of a marriage-manual movie from the 1950s serve as seedbed. More, please.

    How to Fall in Love with the Earth Again is a wordy piece about silence that generally works well. Dancer Evelyn Chen keeps us interested while Alec Funiciello extolls silent spaces and Dana Greenfield projects shadows over and around Chen, and Anastasia Beliakova adds subtle vocal sounds. It's all a bit of a mishmash, with each element obscuring the next, but How to... has a cohesive charm nevertheless.

    And Devotion by Sophia Zukoski is the most recognizably dance piece of the evening, chock full of triangular drama. Lei-Lei Bavoil, Brittany Henry and Zukoski dance an emotion-rich tale of yearning, ultimatums, regret and passion, with fresh intensity. Each character is intriguing and poignant, and Devotion feels both familiar and fraught, in the best sense.

    APRIL 23, 2018
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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