June 3, 2015
The bare-chested one footed hop, the signature step in Brian Brooks’ “Motor,” immediately made an impact as oddly original though it is reminiscent of the temple dancers’ slow one footed descent in Marius Petipa’s ballet “La Bayadere.” “Motor” offers the dead pan camaraderie of jogging, albeit forward and backwards, diagonals and such, two men side-by-side, in sync with each other. David Parsons made a splash with his solo “Caught”; perhaps Brooks created something equally memorable with this duet which premiered at Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival in 2010. Certainly this duet, performed by Brooks & Albert, won the most effusive applause on this night at The Joyce Theatre.
Premiering that night, Brooks’ “Sudden Lift” has an asymmetrical, inwardly spiraling quality. The dancers Matthew Albert, Dylan Crossman, Carlye Eckert, Marielis Garcia, Ingrid Kapteyn, Haylee Nichele, David Norsworthy, and Jeff Sykes move with a circular flow of energy that choreographer Trisha Brown might appreciate. The demure ballerina Margot Fonteyn might also have been amused to see their legs rarely rise above hip level, a restraint rarely seen, after so many decades of dancers routinely executing 180 degree split jumps and battements. Brooks contains his movement within a modest range in this piece set to music by Nils Frahm, costumes by Karen Young, lighting design by Philip Trevino.
Brooks begins his solo “Retrograde,” which he performed with a single light on stage shaping a small hot zone, with riveting mastery. Barely visible at first, Brooks backed into the light with a movement that seemed to massage consecutively his guts, his arms, and feet. He unfortunately explores few variations of space, time or energy on this theme.
The New York premiere of “Division” conjured memories of William Forsythe’s “One Flat Thing.” Instead of the tables that Forsythe used, Brooks’ 6 dancers slid cardboard squares across the floor. “Whistle while you work” came to mind as the dancers cheerfully went about the business of pushing, holding, dropping the boards around each other. Brooks discovered a new way of partnering with one cardboard separating two dancers; blinded by the board, they maintained their connection by pressing their inanimate third party. “Division” is performed to an original score composed by Jerome Begin.
“Torrent” created in 2013, as commissioned by Juilliard Dance for New Dances, has a sweetness that makes one wonder was the world once more innocent? This group piece, also contained, but with an architectural sense of structure was set to the music of Max Richter, “Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons” sends the dancers across the floor.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Deirdre Towers