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Sarah Michelson.

Sarah Michelson Next Wave Festival Bam Harvey Theater, Brooklyn, NY October 18-21, 2006

The longtime darling of downtown spaces, British-born choreographer Sarah Michelson is said to have spent upwards of $150,000 on her recent DOGS, commissioned by the Next Wave Festival. Every dime of that was visible on the usually derelict stage of this old picture palace, transformed with pale drapery and a Masonite floor covered with a hand-painted pattern of intersecting circles that extended onto the apron. Elaborate lighting equipment surrounded the stage and even poked up from the middle of the orchestra section; at various times, projections of bright-eyed cats and zebras appeared on the stage's walls.

Spiky nosegays of lighting fixtures sprouted from the floor, creating a futuristic garden where barefooted Parker Lutz, in a beige unitard with puffy sleeves, performed brief balletic variations to music by Mike Iveson, Bert Janusch, and, most startlingly, given Michelson's experimental pedigree, Leo Delibes (large chunks of the score for Sylvia). A black curtain descended over and over, at least 10 times. On a long table in the middle of the space sat a platter of roast chicken, which Lutz gnawed at from time to time. Michelson and Jennifer Howard, in a succession of iconic dance costumes, performed their own little movement sequences, the choreographer herself resembling, of all people, Richard Move portraying Martha Graham. Michelson has had a succession of injuries and had her ankle taped; from time to time she rested her head on the table.

The shorter second section, called the "Epilogue," began in a dense cloud of smoke, which eventually scattered to reveal two dancers who resembled miniatures of Michelson and Howard. Upstage, the original cast sat at an even longer table having a Ghekhovian conversation about injury, food, and the need for a new window to let in more light. Greg Zuccolo rolled on the floor, wearing a creamy leotard. Meanwhile the stage lighting went wild, with projected speckles and bubbles and other special effects. DOGS was visually dazzling but choreographically incoherent, with a whole lot of sizzle, and some chicken, but no steak. See www.bam.org.
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Author:Zimmer, Elizabeth
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Theater review
Date:Jan 1, 2007
Words:353
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