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Contemporary Feast At 'Fest. (Reviews: New York).


People lined the block for each hour of the opening night for the seventh annual Dancenowfest. This artist-driven festival, sponsored by Colloquium Contemporary Dance Exchange, scheduled 145 dance artists in five venues. Judging from one of the opening events, Dancenowfest was characterized by high energy and an astounding range of styles and generations.

Among the nine pieces were five duets, each with a different mood. Her Dream, His Waiting for Her to Arrive (2000), choreographed and performed by Lisa Gonzales and Paul Matteson, was a wonder of wit and subtle excitement. While they leapt and dragged and boomeranged at each other, Matteson and Gonzales explained, cajoled, and counted under their breath. We didn't hear the words, but we got a sense of an intimate and adventurous rehearsal. They shifted like quicksilver between being in sync and way out of sync. They focused only on each other, but they allowed their partnering, their stream of shared consciousness, to be fully visible. With exquisite timing, this duet was private, real, original.

Another affecting duet was Pick Up (2000), in which Alexander Gish, the choreographer, and Trebien Pollard pick each other up by scooping the arm under the crotch area. They also sucked each other's fingers. Although both these motifs were repeated too often, the dance portrayed an erotic craving for each other, capturing those moments in a relationship where nothing matters except how you give and take pleasure with your partner.

Christopher Yon and Justin Jones's The Aorta Stomp was a hilarious cartoon of a dance. Yon, who once danced with Rudy Perez, makes excellent use of baby steps and possesses a perpetually surprised face. Jones, hair hanging over his eyes, distorted his face with sudden ferocious expressions. Using pulsating hand gestures, they simulated digging out each other's hearts and stomping on them. Don't ask why these puppet-like murderous movements were funny, but they were.

Zvi Gotheiner showed an inventive excerpt from Interiors (2001) performed by Ying-Ying Shiau and Todd Allen. The two dancers involved a third figure--a chair--in their fluid, circular, and seductive movements. Although they occasionally arrested the stream of motion to stare into each others' eyes, the dancers seemed strangely distant from each other.

Fast Dance, choreographed and performed by Rebecca Stenn and Michelle de la Reza, had quick movements in unisons, clean lines, and proud demeanor. During brief solos they each became more quirky. Musicians Dave Eggar, Jay Weissman, and Tom Papadatos played live, adding dimension and drive.

Amber Sloan performed Rue (1998), an intriguing solo by Sara Hook Dances. Wearing a bright pink wig and neutral-colored leotard and tights, she looked like an awkward, overgrown doll. She twisted limbs against torso, tying herself in knots before thudding to the ground. Treading the line between uncertainty and striving, the dance projected both humor and pathos.

Laura Gates Carlson, who has danced with Lar Lubovitch, brought a voluptuous limpid quality to Touch, Lips, Sing (2000). Her full-bodied sensuality was reminiscent of Meryl Streep but also of the legendary dance soloist Sybil Shearer, who wiggled radiantly in the 1950s. The dance seemed to be about moments of pleasure and discovery that get crinkled.

Neal Beasley, Sac La Chin, and Amanda Wells submerged their upper bodies in tanks of water in Johannes Wieland's Tomorrow (2001). Dripping wet, they twitched with restlessness, sometimes trapping each other with their legs and sometimes splatting to the floor, leaving puddles.

Before the audience took their seats, Romy Reading threaded through the throng declaiming, "No One Trusts a Single Woman" (also the title of the piece). She returned at the end, dancing a brief leggy solo, with a dress so short that it barely covered the upper inches of those dangerous legs. In a mock display of decency, she pulled the dress down to cover herself.

The latter half of Dancenowfest was cancelled due to the terrorist attack on downtown New York. It was rescheduled for October.
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Title Annotation:Review; Dancenowfest
Author:Perron, Wendy
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Dec 1, 2001
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