BRIAN BROOKS MOVING COMPANY
June 3, 2012
A visually compelling evening in not only movement, but also in bold design and production opened the first night of the Gotham Dance Festival with Brian Brooks Moving Company’s 2011 piece, Descent. Laser-like beams of light slice across the stage horizontally as a man slowly carries another – frozen, lying sideways, facing the audience. Two other’s pace through with another propped over their shoulders and backs. One pair evolves into a duet inspired by contact improvisation as one, remaining stiff with vacant eyes falls one direction and the next, while his partner dives and lunges to his rescue. As slots of light splay on the stage floor vertically, the space takes on an amplified 3D feel with criss-crossing rays of light, designed by Philip Trevino.
A hazy glow shines above the laser-beam, illuminating a piece of sheer white fabric that a dancer below, in the shadows, uses as a board to blow up and about in the space. Others join, their cream, red and fuchsia fabrics ebbing in and out, swirling and floating as if in water. This image of calm serenity is soon shattered with light beams again criss-crossing, this time creating dotted patterns on the floor. This is the landscape as the dancers begin a highly athletic section, sprinting from the corners of the stage to the middle, sometimes jumping to be caught by a passerby. The organized chaos of running, flying bodies rebounding off one another, compliments the more upbeat turn in the music composed by Adam Crystal.
The short and comical video Rapid Still (2008) floods the screen. Choreographed, performed, filmed and edited by Artistic Director, Brian Brooks, it features him moving in an impossible airborne manner, his body flailing and shaking at unbelievable speed – all of this accompanied by the edited, sped up sound of his panting breath. Ending in an endearing manner, his body hits the floor, breaking into real time as he laughs.
Closing the first act is an excerpt from the Brian Brooks Moving Company’s work, Motor (2010). Brooks and dancer David Scarantino walk out of the darkness towards the audience. Wearing only briefs, you are drawn to the work their bodies are doing as their pace increases and the movement becomes more and more physical. Switching legs every so often then hop in tandem with one another, occasionally posing in a running stance.
The program built up to the much anticipated New York premiere of Big City. As the curtain rises, the audience can’t help but gasp at the transformation of the stage with dozens of metal rods hanging down like tinsel, with hinges, creating angles amongst this steel jungle. A red-suited man lies on the floor until another steps on him and balances. Other dancers in flowing dresses and colored suits enter dancing in their own bubbles, twisting about with their arms wrapped at their elbows, whimsical. Soon they begin to interact, constantly switching partners and wrapping around one another before breaking into pairs, balancing on each other’s backs as the other rises to their knees and slides back down to their stomachs. The company’s mastery in catching each other - effortlessly and when least expected - shined in this piece. As the dance comes to an end, one female dancer tiptoes onto her partner’s palms creating a surprisingly romantic image. At one point the dancers move the metal rods, straightening them, though I was left wishing they had interacted more with their intricate setting.
Brian Brooks Moving Company kicked off week one of the 2012 Gotham Dance Festival at The Joyce Theater.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY – J. Thompson