Performing Arts: Dance
October 15, 2021
Amber Sloan has no particular movement language. A long-standing member of The Bang Group, a curator, and a composition teacher, Sloan has her toes dipped in too many niches to settle on one way of doing things. Her first full-evening presentation at Arts On Site demonstrates a rigorous commitment to ideas and a devout authenticity in composing the results of deep research. There is no ulterior motive, and no fat to trim.

Sloan performs in Apart/Together, alongside Nik Owens, alongside a sheet and a shelf, respectively. They examine every way of interacting with the props in a combination of partnering and puppetry. When the two meet, they keep the shelf between them. More than a creative task, the work was begun remotely before the two decided to work in tandem.

Apart/Together is a trajectory of creative problem solving – how to dance in separate spaces, how to partner with minimal risk of infection, and how to make all of this still make sense in an increasingly vaccinated world.

Rigor remains, though puts on a fur coat for Yma Dream, performed by high camp priestess Sy Lu, who performs a physical companion to the wordplay of Anne Bancroft’s monologue recounting Yma Sumac demanding she introduce accumulating guests at a party who all have two-syllable names like hers. A “physical tongue twister,” Lu patterns movements in an analogous fashion, while maintaining a veneer of old Hollywood glamour that makes the whole ordeal digestible.

Golden Delicious treats plot as task. Jordan Morley and Chelsea Hecht stand, nude, intertwined in an Adam and Eve narrative. After intricately textured partnering, they repeat the opening sequence, now attempting to censor each other at the same time, until the decision to put on clothes spirals original sin into a more universally applicable human condition.

Sloan’s most recent effort, A Tangled Web, aims only for its title’s prescription. In doing so, she achieves the rarely considered option of each member of the trio operating under completely independent sets of dynamics and timings, all stemming organically from the simplicity of starting in a circle, facing inward, holding hands.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Jonathan Matthews

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