September 30, 2016
Before the show started, we had the option to stare at a projected graphic for Dance Now underscored by Joe’s Pub and a slogan A Catalyst for Change. One might wonder whether Dance Now, in its 21st season, offers a platform for advocacy. But only Jane Comfort took the opportunity by juxtaposing two recordings, one of Trump’s vitriol “I am your voice!” with Amazing Grace. A chill went through the audience as Comfort and her dancers quietly signed the words of the hymn.
Gus Solomons, Jr., looking dapper in his suit, tie, and shoes, dapper in his suit, added a poignancy to the evening with his spoken word, thigh slapping shuffle “Used to be (pause) taller.” His last line “I used to be (pause) Whiter” ended the solo with quiet affirmation. Matty Davis and Adrian Galvin, an electric duo, start their enigmatic Boomerang, from 2012, with frantic air punching and end with their backs to the audience.
The gifted Sy Gaskin could have stolen the program with his white gloved, beguiling, “don’t you know, dahling?” charm in Yma’s Dream, as spoken by Anne Bancroft, and choreographed by Amber Sloan. In Once upon a time between the heart region and the amygdala, Wallie Wolfguber captivates us with her solo that begins with her crouched on a bench finger-walking her thigh to Zarka Jovanovic’s haunting music and closes with her stretched high. Meredith Fages, in a macrame white dress designed by Susan Obrant, sliced the air holding one spot with her hands taut and legs swinging with balletic ease, offsetting the brooding pace of David Horman’s score. Nicole Wolfcott had the courage to simply dance, without thrashing, to Nina Simone’s Got It Bad.
This year’s Festival Encore with 12 five minute works was a tad more sober than previous years when gags laced the program, though the first duet See Dick Dance, performed with sass and precision by Jordan Isadore & Edward Sturgis was in that vein, as was the campy home video hosted by TruDee from her backyard in California, and Faraway, a doll’s romance sealed with a kiss by Satoshi Haga and Rie Fukuzawa. Able-bodied Megan Williams, backed by three men dressed black, wobbled around the fringes of spoof in her One Woman Show. Similarly, Active Listening, choreographed/performed by Cori Marquis and Jordon Risdon in the aisles by-stepped hilarity, due to poor site-lines and timing. Poking fun at high art, Andy Warhol’s Rite of Spring is a prancing romp set to Ravel’s Afternoon of a Faun and Bolero that closes with a banana-peeling victim being carried off by a mob.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Deirdre Towers