nEW Festival's winter installment

2 minute read
A sleeker sampler


The winter installment of nEW Festival’s “Dancehouse” collective of works in development was a frisky, sleeker sampler with concepts and sketches trying to break through to actual performance. Charles Anderson/DancetheatreX troupe continued the choreographer’s fusion of Africanist dance dialogues with modern idioms. His excerpt of Evidence of Things Unsaid had the look of a primal dance invocation. Anderson voices the meditative themes astride his trio of dancers, who burst out in tight rhythmic patterns and expressive aerials.

At the other end of the dance spectrum is choreographer-poet Jaamil Olawale Kosoko’s surreal ‘Trace/maneuver,’ which begins with Kosoko entangled in wire in front of a TV screen in kid briefs. In the background are three female dancers with “l love you” birthday balloons floating over their heads— Kosoko’s commentary on the junked-up emotions of our lives, symbolized by sentimental objects and exploited by media. Kosoko uses torso and limb isolation to hypnotically cast off the junk and to make you see the body. His syntax is unexpected and his micro choreography completely evocative. This was a true preview from an emerging voice.

Virginia Woolf’s interior world

Pathological movement imbued Olive Prince Dance’s Old Girl, New, a biographical sketch of the interior word of the doomed author Virginia Woolf. Paroxysmal phrasing and nervy austerity drew one into the world of a woman in distress, but Prince’s biodance solo remained too insular at this stage, and she resorted to predictable and redundant choreography. More ideas of theme actually emerged during her simplified group movement.

It was hard to connect choreographer Jeffrey Gunshol’s movement to his title, The Rite of Spring: The Grand Pas Variation. But Nora Gibson’s witty and well-danced desiccation of pointe work, danced to a vulgar song, was hilarious. The excerpt skipped to Gunshol’s ending dance sacrifice, as Gunshol carried a limp Gibson to the Flaming Lips pop anthem, Do You Realize.

A parody of dance competitions

Earlier, Gunshol was the host of Melanie Stewart’s Time to Dance parody of lame dance competitions as a cultural phenomenon. Karl Schappel and Bethany Formica portrayed the comic dance team who throw their backs out doing the Mandango. The rehearsal film had more going for it than Stewart’s dance skit onstage. Maybe they should consider switching them for the next installment.

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