Posted by: trailerpilot | 09:13::2009

A Chosen Pick of the Decided Spot

Jessica Wright and Christine Benson. Photo by Jay Schroeder.

Jessica Wright and Christine Benson. Photo by Jay Schroeder.

A showing Friday and Saturday night by busy, young dancer/choreographers, A Chosen Pick of the Decided Spot was the kind of evening I can really get into: The pieces were short, ideas unique and varied and, most endearingly, nothing was forced upon the audience as though it was self-evidently Important. That isn’t to say that it wasn’t, but in spite of the quality it made no demands, just asked simply to be witnessed.

Jessica Wright organized and presumably curated the show and created two of its seven acts. The first, “Characterized by indecision,” seemed more or less unchanged from its appearance on a Field Trips program in May; I liked it just as much now as I did then and appreciated the chance to see it a second time. The other, “The Arrangement of Complements,” was a confident step forward in the same direction. Christine Benson, Anna Goldman and Jessie Young, credited with Wright for the choreography, gave a clean performance that made each burst of dueling rhythms, freeze-tag tableaux, miniature canon and coagulation of unison plainly visible in concept. Idiosyncratic gestures and unexpected musical choices (E*vax, The Books, µ-Ziq and Takagi Masakatsu) are all well and good, but telegraphing a sense of style — the costumes were lovely all evening — isn’t enough. Wright and her dancers are disciplined in a way that many of their generation aren’t. Everything is diligently worked out by hand with no corners cut — the hip beats and threads merely support intelligent dancemaking there in full.

Megan Harrold of Nashville, who like Wright is a graduate of VCU’s Dance and Choreography department, showed a solo and duet that made me wish she was in Chicago for more than just a weekend. “Solitude with Others” found her being tossed around by an tall, bearded fellow (Joseph Hudson) in boots whose side-parted, wavy black hair made him look like a old-timey prospector reluctantly gussied up for Sunday dinner. Harrold plays the top — she stands on his chest and he does a few bench-presses with her stiff body — but Charlie Rauh’s music placed a frame of frayed love around their rough/tender dynamic. Three-part solo “Interpreting the Rub,” meanwhile, was a pure-movement investigation strongly reminiscent of Trisha Brown’s proximal initiations and complexly minuscule reorganizations of momentum. “Solitude” in its pedestrianism merely hints at Harrold’s technical skill, but “Rub” puts it on a plinth and it’s quite remarkable to watch. I hope Wright lures her back to town for another appearance soon.

Rounding out the evening were two more solos danced by their creators, Goldman’s “Untitled” and Young’s “take one.” Although petite, Goldman is a beast of a mover and fascinatingly unpredictable — she hurtled along nonstop in silence until an alarm she set went off, then strode offstage leaving me wanting more. “take one” took the opposite approach — Young reticently enters the space for a few minutes of soft, controlled shapes and pauses, a pencil on tissue paper to Goldman’s Sharpie on glass. Stefanie Karlin’s trio “Adios mi corazón,” set to Bob Dylan’s “Spanish is the Loving Tongue,” recalls Anna Simone Levin’s 1999 “Mujeres Caidas” but replaces its comedic melodrama with a coy awkwardness. Black marley skyline silhouettes gave each dancer a tiny plot on which to move; Karlin’s neverending shimmy turned her sequined dress into a quiet maraca while Lauren Bisio and Natalia Negron danced at us unaware of one another. It was a pleasant ditty overshadowed by the rest of the program’s compositional rigor.


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