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Sara Pearson/Patrik Widrig And Company. (New York: Under The Rainbow).

UNDER THE RAINBOW SARA PEARSON/PATRIK WIDRIG AND COMPANY DANCES FOR WAVE HILL BRONX, NEW YORK JULY 8, 11, AND 15, 2001

Water, sunlight, and dancing bodies created glorious effects--including an actual rainbow--in A Curious Invasion, Sara Pearson and Patrik Widrig's site-specific work at Wave Hill. The piece opened with an ensemble dance on a sloping lawn at the park's south end. The dancers, in red outfits, lay on their sides; in unison, each stretched an arm skyward and let it wave gently in the breeze. Later, they clambered up the hill and collapsed at regular intervals. Just when a calm had settled, another throng of dancers bounded in from behind some bushes. With summertime abandon, the new arrivals sent their limbs flurrying in all directions.

After this fun, a foghorn sounded to signal the beginning of a "self-guided" walking tour. Viewers had fifty minutes on their own to explore thirteen installations--some dance, some video, and some in the "other" category. The rainbow emerged in "Rain Dance," as dancer Jason Akira Somma reveled in the sunlit spray of a sprinkler hanging from a ladder. Wearing a yellow poncho around his waist, he furled and unfurled his bare torso as if caressing the translucent beams of color. (A return to "Rain Dance" after stops at the other sites found the rainbow still there, though fainter, and Somma flicking his fingers toward his mouth, his back still arching sumptuously.) "Wind Tunnel"--a whirring array of electric fans all pointing at the same direction--led to "Moonglow," where four women (Melissa Glasgow, Jennifer C. Harmer, Alexandra Holmes, and Lisa Mercer) draped themselves over a stone ledge, then slunk and rolled into languid poses.

Near "Moonglow," viewers found "Ice Palace," which traveled metaphorically from sky back to water in all its phases. Here, Francisco Rider Pereira da Silva, alone in a balustraded enclosure with a tombstone-sized block of ice, gingerly wet his feet in a growing puddle. To the north lay the surreal "WaterSkyBoatFly," in which three women (Lindsay Gilmour, Toni Melaas, and Abby Rasminsky) stood in three rowboats spread out on the rolling meadow. With the Hudson River in the background, the image recalled Pearson/Widrig's 1996 Love Notes to Central Park, in which dancers performed in boats on a lake. (I videotaped that 1996 work and found an excerpt of this footage in one of Invasion's video installations.)

Another highlight of the walking tour was Bethany Formica's impetuous tumbling in "Unleashed," a duet with Blake B. Pearson in which she tossed out capeoira-style back flips in range of a sprinkler.

When the fifty minutes ended, viewers were led to the garden's north end for Invasion's full-ensemble finale: literally, a romp in the hay. The dancers took turns leaping and somersaulting over hay bales piled high, then stood the bales on end and delighted in knocking them over. It was a joyous return to earth after a wet and heavenly journey.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Sperling, Jody
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Nov 1, 2001
Words:487
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