Performing Arts: Dance
  CATHERINE CABEEN/HYPHEN
January 30, 2018
In this imaginative reflection on gender politics within the dance world, Catherine Cabeen / Hyphen extends to the Theater for a New City audience three delicious morsels of commentary and offers the audience a full palette of sensations to savor.

The work opens with Glitter in the Gutter, performed by Kristina Berger and Catherine Cabeen. Both dancers set the stage for a traditional, cattle-call audition, in which they sit in neutral black leotards, one festive ostrich feather pinned to their tight bun-headed hairdos, and titleringing ‘Give me more’ expressions on their faces. This satire of dancers attempting to wedge their foot in the industry door is a familiar one to the dance community and the comic relief provided in the ensuing dialogue sets the tone of humble character and quick-wit from the company members.

After the dreaded ‘Don’t call us, we’ll call you’ is delivered, the dancers dive into their work, sharing a volley of cheeky, eloquent phrases filled with anatomy vocabulary and movement quality analysis. Their lighthearted repartee regarding exponential costs of studio space and overextended body parts strikes a sentimental chord to those familiar with the dance world, as does the reality of exploitation of dancers by one-trackminded directors and having to bite the artistic bullet to work in corporate America in order to ‘live the dream in New York City.

Through yogic centeredness, contemporary extensions and elongated extremities, Cabeen and company exhibit brilliant use of speed and dynamic juxtaposition in their work and allow the audience to settle comfortably into the knowledge that resides within the bodies of each dancer, The choreographic composition is well-organized, leading the eye in a logical manner to and from the various focal points set by the actions of each of the dancers, whose command of space and control of exertion have a wonderful working relationship with the recorded score of the pieces, each informing the other of the dynamics needed to set the tone of the poignant messages of each piece.

In the work’s second piece, This American Koan, a mass of poly-blend stretch clothing makes its way onto stage, each garment sewn together to offer a seemingly endless array of options, which the dancers efficiently use to create a multifaceted gem of social commentary. Within this clever paradox, the dancers defy gender binary roles by donning various articles of clothing and create new physical dialogue with each swap of ownership of every genderless article. The orchestration is seamless, as is much of the stitching that must have been involved in creating such a massive piece of art.

The final piece, …yet again, pits the domineering, chauvinistically-charged male director personae against the rational respiration of the female-bodied counterpart, exercising her human strength in an expression of defiance and self-assured confidence. Cabeen’s fluctuation between the traditional male and contemporary female brings with it a conversation of tension and release with a through-line of truth and a woven theme of strength from beginning to end.

Cabeen’s musicality, lyrical energy and respectful acknowledgment of both the male and female energies that humans possess holds the attention of the audience with a gentle yet attentive security and reminds those watching that no one has power over what we think, and to have strength to disagree with those who feel they do.

That humans are more than the sum of our parts is made manifest by Catherine Cabeen / Hyphen’s work ‘Give Me More’ and the responsibility of honoring all aspects of the human soul is met and excelled by the talents of each performer in the company.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Brandon Kazen-Maddox




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