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    2017-2018 reviews:

  •  REVIEW: ONLY HUMAN: CHRISTINE BONANSEA

    Mei Yamanaka in Only Human: Christine Bonansea
    Photo by Gaia Squarci
    Mei Yamanaka

    What is Human?

    Christine Bonansea fills Danspace with OnlyHuman

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com

    "Only," in Christine Bonansea's OnlyHuman, could mean "just" or "alone". Either works, though Mei Yamanaka gives far more than "just" to her solo and seems quite alone when the rest of the cast join her onstage.

      
    ONLY HUMAN: CHRISTINE BONANSEA
    Choreography by: Christine Bonansea.
    Dancers: Malcom-x Betts, Ichi Go, Alvaro Gonzalez Dupuy, Charles Gowin, Amelia Heintzelman, Becca Loevy, Cameron McKinney, Maya Orchin, Kristopher K.Q. Pourzal, Mei Yamanaka.
    Music by: Nicole Carroll.
    Sound design by: Nicole Carroll.
    Lighting design by: Solomon Weisbard.
    assistant lighting designer: Christine Dorsey.
    graphic programming/video: Yoann Trellu.
    photography for video: Robert Flynt.
     SCHEDULE
    Danspace
    November 15-18, 2018

    So much of OnlyHuman is odd, but that's praise more than quibble. Yamanaka begins her solo in a cozy hooded sweatshirt, sweatpants and socks, and strips these off midway to finish in a thonged and sleeved black-glitter leotard. The effect is confusing; she becomes both sensualized and vulnerable, almost naked onstage. If she is the only human left, who is she dancing for?

    That question seems to hit her, too, after she finishes, as she sits slumped against a pole, breathing heavily, sad and seemingly defeated. The other dancers wander in, and meet about six feet away from the exhausted soloist. There is a wild energy around all of the newcomers, as if they don't know why or how to relax. Yet they also seem mostly incurious and unaggressive.

    One wilding picks up the tired human as if handling a large doll, unsure what to do and with no clear motive or goal, but perhaps hoping for some response or clue. When neither seems evident, the wilding loses interest, and the rest of the wild ones converge in a bouncing, crashing pileup, almost oblivious to the fragile human lying on the ground.

    Only Human: Christine Bonansea
    Photo by Gaia Squarci

    After Yamanaka's precise and nuanced undulations and foldings, the big leaps and edge-of-control physicality of the others feels crude but energetically impressive. They manage to be together and not really united at the same time; in a way, it's refreshing to see dance with raw energy and almost no unison.

    Enhancing the oddness are live sound design by Nicole Carroll and lighting design by Solomon Weisbard. Both are sparse but really innovative, never predictable but never obtrusive, even as the familiar shape of Danspace mostly disappears into darkness and fog, occasionally with projected white lines and geometries, and red accents both tiny and large.

    The red accents are striking: volcanic backlight rims and silhouettes Yamanaka's strong, naked legs to make her super-human, a tiny red light seems to energize her at the end and attract more red light to itself, and a large glowing-red tube (?) is the last light we see, as our human blows life into it or receives life from it, like a giant umbilical cord.

    NOVEMBER 20, 2018
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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