Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fall for Dance, September 23rd

So it's been an interesting experience for me to sit so close to the stage. I'm usually about as far back in the theater as I can get so it's different to be able to see so many small things. Of course it's not always an improvement. For example the Houston Ballet's costumes for Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux would probably have looked marginally better from a distance. I mean, I'd probably have needed to be watching from the nosebleeds of a football stadium for Connor Walsh's getup to look decent. Still, a little distance might have been helpful. Even more so because from my usual seats I might not have noticed the fact that Sara Webb's face seemed paralyzed. I mean, sure, look happy. But the same exact expression for the entire eight minutes? It's just discomfiting and feels completely fake. I liked Webb's dancing other than that--moreso than Walsh's--but the frozen rictus of a smile was consistently distracting.

And in BeijingDance/LDTX's performance--in which they were apparently animated pieces of a Go game and also players of Go, according to the program notes--I sometimes couldn't see everything on stage as well as I would have liked. I don't think I would have been terribly fond of the work anyway, but I do think I like sitting further back and looking at the stage from above better.

Also subject to my annoyance last night was the choreography for Single Room. Fang-Yi Sheu is a gorgeous dancer but she was apparently narrating a girl's loneliness in a relationship by dancing with a table. Because I know when I'm feeling lonely what I really want to do is roll around on (and under) my kitchen table while showing off my legs in various ways. (Granted, I certainly don't have legs like that and hers are worth showing off.) I know I'm being far too literal there, but nevertheless I definitely could have lived with less of the table.

The other two performances though, I really liked. The Richard Siegal choreographed The New 45 went on a bit too long but was so witty and fun that I didn't much mind. And Ayman Harper and Mario Zambrano were engaging, entertaining performers. I thought they were fantastic. Also, this was another performance that made me want to see more of both the choreographer and the dancers.

I also really enjoyed The Gentlemen of Hälau Nä Kamalei. I'd never seen hulu performed before either by men or by women so that was a treat. And while this was another piece that had a story I couldn't follow in the least--maybe the music told the story?--I did get a kick out of reading about it in the program. It's described as the, "myth, legend, and love story of a surfer from Kauai who comes to the North Shore of Oahu to ride the waves of Sunset Beach." I imagine it's cultural ignorance, but I'm so cheerfully entertained by the idea of watching a dance by a guy who goes ot Oahu to surf. It was a nice way to end the evening.

Photo from the City Center Web site.


tonya said...

Good review. Yeah I agree with your thoughts on "Single Room." The night I saw it the audience really went nuts, giving a standing ovation and everything. I think they must have thought the lighting was really cool. I might have too if I hadn't ever seen anything like it before, but as a dance it just didn't do much. I loved The New 45 as well -- best part of the evening imo.

Meg said...

I didn't even think about the lighting in "Single Room" but bet you're right that people enjoyed the lighting. And she was a beautiful dancer so I think if I'd found the concept less obnoxious I would have enjoyed that more.

I agree that "The New 45" was the best part of the evening. And also, for me at least, an example of why Fall for Dance works, because now when I have an opportunity to see more of Siegal's work here in New York I'll definitely take it. :)