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Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company.

Will I know what it's about? That fear has rattled many a novice dancegoer. The more abstract the dance, the more nervous she or he gets (though the prospect of a good story ballet can serve as a soothing antidote). That same novice was in for quite a surprise at the performances of New Jersey-based choreographer Carolyn Dorfman. For in Dorfman's dances an imposed narrative can degrade meaning while pure movement sparks instinctual recognitions.

Sextet (1994) is peopled with a host of white-clad acrobats--kinetic angels innocent of gravity's mortal tug. They fly, deft and agile, through fast-shifting shapes, riding the currents of movement. An audience member doesn't need to know the who, the what, and the why of this dance. Caught up in the heady play, you succumb to the now, the moment-to-moment rush of action. In a darker vein, Hourglass (1991) courts visions of restless dreams, night terrors. A woman rolls fitfully on the floor, arms and legs feinting at eerie shadows. For a while, panic undercuts any upright stance. Yet gradually, as the inner tempest recedes, she wins back her equilibrium. A story has unfolded.

Living Room Music (1994) introduces a set of specific protagonists to tell its tale: three ballroom dancers, a combative married couple, two young people who never meet, and a lone woman. Yet the work's collage of vignettes fails to define either the characters' intentions or their interrelationships. And Dorfman fares little better with narrative culled from music. Love Suite Love (1992) rides the coattails of Patsy Cline's sob-story love songs. Good-natured boys and girls flirt and dream of being flirted with--end of story. With Dorfman, when the meaning relies on movement, not plot, you'll know and appreciate what the dance is about.
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Title Annotation:Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse, New York, New York
Author:Tobias, Anne
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Nov 1, 1994
Previous Article:New York Theatre Ballet.
Next Article:St. Petersburg State Theater Ballet of Boris Eifman.

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