REVIEW: Current Sessions 2012 at The Wild Project
Alexis Convento and Brandon Cournay created the Current Sessions in 2011 because they wanted to see emerging choreographers take creative risks in a supportive environment. They felt that the most interesting and provocative work could emerge from a working period of only six short weeks. Last weekend, 18 choreographers showed the results of their time in this “incubator” at the beautiful Wild Project theater. Sunday evening featured a selection of 8.
Yin Yue gave us hard hitting, rhythm driven movement in One Side of the Story. Piece by piece, dancers moved themselves in and out of the floor. Although each action was strictly particular and fragmented, phrases still had forward flow. Yue’s five dancers (including herself) cut through the stage and expanded it past its walls. The women ultimately ended in the corner pulsing as one, as if riding one growing wave.
An exploration of human emotions and the fierce desire to keep them harnessed, Brendan Duggan’s Circumstantial Amy brought three performers to the stage in surgical masks with painted on smiles. Immediately it becomes obvious that facial expression and body language are separate entities, and neither can mask the other. The false smiles force us to examine the eyes, the posture, the hands for more clues. When one dancer sheds the mask it is a relief, which is reflected in the movement. Duggan eventually de-masks all, and emotions contained bubble over.
Betheny Merola’s eerie SHAPESHIFT plays with states of awareness. The overall environment is spookily distant although the piece is a duet between Merola and Dai Omiya. They partner smoothly but still achieve a certain passivity, as if they could be in the same room or not. Even the movement achieves a quality of detached skill. They have let go of themselves and are floating.
Agression and grace are key in Sarah Mettin’s Discontinue: Part II. Bodies move constantly in and out the side doors of the stage, giving the impression that we have stumbled into one part of ongoing action. While dancers stand on the rim, high energy solos and duets take place in the center. The best caught moment was Lynda Senisi’s fearless wall attack. With flinging limbs and thrown weight, she was the image of full out dancing.
As Our Buttons Are Cast In Bone featured Emily Terndrup and TJ Spaur in a deeply felt duet. Choreographer Mallory Rosenthal uses the lightest touches here to make the biggest impact. As we watch them we can see them coming undone from the inside out, as they tap and react to one another. Much of the success here lies in intense inner focus and honest connection. We don’t know their story or their conflict, and yet we know exactly how they feel.
Theodore Boguszewski’s Lonely Woman is (as noted in program) an “exploration of a strain of insanity that is distinctly feminine.” While the movement follows through on its claim of “task driven,” I see restraint over neuroses in the quartet. If there is insanity, it is beneath the surface. Perhaps what we see here is what we often see in women: the organizing of chaos and the keeping up of appearances, for no one lost control.
Finally, in a lighthearted nightcap to the evening, Jonathan Royse Windham brought us an eclectic group of characters in Two duets, some awkward moments, a long silence and a slow dance. This wild bunch aims to impress in a game of elimination (complete with buzzers) until finalists in the game turn into inventive duets. The promise of awkwardness is fulfilled–each dancer exaggerates body twitches and facial expressions to express familiar moments of insecurity. We are amused first, then impressed, especially when a necktie becomes the instrument of great partnering.
If these current voices are to be the movement inventors of the future as Current Sessions hopes, it’s looking pretty good for us.