Elisa Monte Dance.
Whether an Elisa Monte dance lurches in fast-forward or lingers on a juncture for precarious poses, it quickens the pulse. The rush seems full of ritualistic purpose, and stationary figures loom with totemic magic. That primal power infused much of the work Monte's eight-member troupe performed in South Florida.
In the ensemble pieces, Shattered and Dreamtime, the tribal advance and retreat--purposeful, if not obsessive--prevailed at a clip. The trios, Volkmann Suite and Tears Rolling, simmered with more fragile sensibilities. Yet all compositions revealed raw nerves. Inhabitants of Monte's world, it seems, can little afford to take it easy or, even less, crack a smile.
In Dreamtime, to David van Teighem's stabbing music, the group staked out territory, their march having the ebb and flow of an obstinate tide. After a solo, impressive Karen More took over as leader; physically supple and fixated on keeping everyone on a communal path, she passed on her moves like a gift or dictum.
Shattered brought thunder with Michael Gordon's score. The action, as clusters of dancers spread out and then paired up, could look like stormy discharges: whirls, jittery footwork, big leaps. Clifton Taylor's lighting, using strobes, flashed for vigorous encounters.
Despite their tramping stride, these dances also depended on gestural details (arms up, palms out, for instance, in a sort of salute in Dreamtime; the fist-to-mouth distress signals in Shattered). And between pulsating lineups of dancers, focus would narrow for milder declarations.
That kind of intimacy blossomed in the three-person pieces, especially as performers coalesced into blissful circles--face to face, joining hands--amid longing or strife. With More, Lanette Costas, and Katherine Horrigan, Tears Rolling (to Arvo Part's Fratres, a rich layering of violin and piano) also yielded yearning solos; in Volkmann Suite, to Michael Nyman's String Quartet No. 3, Tiffany Rea, Matthew Fisher, and Fabrice Lamego often closed in for clinging duets.
The evoked scenarios and turned-up emotions weren't the only source of interest. Monte is as mindful of structural niceties as of drama. In the balancing of flow and visual density, in the apportionment of energy, her material gained impact. See http://elisamontedance.org.
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|Title Annotation:||Dreamtime; Shattered|
|Article Type:||Dance review|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2006|
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