Perambulating the Bounds

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Motion in Constrained Space, Pt 2

The bus-based performance was sponsored by the DC Fringe Festival, which is premiering next summer; they scheduled a full day of performances at this festival as an advertisement. Later on Saturday afternoon I caught a couple of more dance performances.

First was the last part of a contact improvisation by Daniel Burkholder and Sharon Mansur, two of the more accomplished dancers in DC. It was a very inventive and funny performance, that included commandeering the event’s sign and balloon from in front of the venue and then kicking it around the room. At one point Mansur sat in an open chair and let Burkholder perform solo, shaking her head in disapproval from time to time. Another bit started when someone walked into the performance and Burkholder started walking behind him, then kept with that same walk and took it out onto the sidewalk. At the end, he inducted another audience member into the show, making her hold his foot and dragging her out of the chair. The humorous stuff came along with extremely fluid duet movement as the two did the problem-solving of contact improvisation where the dancers figure out how to respond to the form of each contact and come up with ways to transform it and move through it into new shapes and positions. Experience shows itself in speed of thought as much as in physical range, although these things are related. Also, the form pushes thought, as there is always the unpredictable element of the contact from another person that gives the dancer something to respond to. In improvisation without a lot of contact, like the bus piece, each dancer seems to figure out what to do next a bit more on their own.

Burkholder and Mansur were followed by material from a piece by Jane Jerardi that she and two other dancers, Brian Buck and Nicholette Routhier (I may not have her name right), are preparing for a full-length performance in October, called “Efficiency.” She is working with the UK electronic musician Scanner, and that sounds great.

This performance (and the duet before it) occurred in a vacant, unfinished storefront in a recently built building. The interior has concrete floors, cinder block walls, high ceilings, and exposed building systems. It also has a bay storefront window, and this area was the focus of the performance. They set some chairs for the audience out on the sidewalk looking in through the window, to sandwich the performance between two halves of audience.

The dancers were dressed in ties and similar blue shirts on black tops, a reference to the workplace. The piece, or at least this improvisation based on some of its material, had several sections with nice cross-combinations of different tempo movement, and references to counting and measurement. Based on the title, I took a lot of it as a reference to the social regulation of time and motion, and its analogies in the techniques and control required for dance and choreography.

Here’s information on the full performance of Jerardi’s piece in October: http://www.wpas.org/performances/event.php?id=150. This page doesn’t mention it, but the evening is going to include a collaboration between Scanner and American sound artist Stephen Vitiello.

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