Vicky Shick's Still Lives is beautiful work, a two-part whole realized in collaboration with set and costume designer Barbara Kilpatrick and composer Kostas Kouris. Amidst Kilpatrick's shifting sets of suspended torsos reminiscent of the Nike of Samothrace, a hanging panel of bronze fabric, tables and chairs, Shick's women arrange themselves. The work is spare and elegant, mature and honed, as if a portrait painter were rearranging his models in search of the perfect pose.
In the opening movement image of "Study for Two," Shick pulls Meg Wolfe, lying face down on a small table, across it by the legs, adjusting her position, pausing between positions. Both women wear black bodices with white gathered satin skirts. In "Study," for five women, two dance for a time in what look like unfastened kimonos, joined at one arm. Later, the dancers line up and lean against the back wall, one dancer shedding a skirt of fabric starched so heavily it stands on its own in front of the group.
The focus throughout is on stillness and women as models for each other, for an unseen eye, the sense of art as continuing process. Kouris's music comes and goes, sparingly, too, like melodies familiar but just out of reach of recognition.
Gail Gilbert's sensibility is vastly different. Her concert, "The Impressionable Air," was comprised of big, boisterous, compositionally sophisticated and often witty movement for groups of men and women, punctuated by excellent duet and solo work. Gilbert spent nine years dancing with the David Parsons Dance Company, three years choreographing for The Big Apple Circus.
Folies de la Vigne, to Marin Marais's Baroque music, features a frieze of dancers in various poses who break apart and assume conversational positions--a foibles-of-mankind piece, reminiscent, thematically and musically, of Mark Morris. Aeolian Voyage, five dances to dissonant music by Rex Ordinaire, who provided all other music, depicts people fighting a storm. Three men in white shirts, black pants and starched ties do wobbly arabesques as if struggling against the wind. A duet for Victoria Lundell and Yoav Kaddar is characterized by interesting partnering and range of movement, while a frolicsome quartet closes the dance. In Night, a fine lyrical solo, Lundell begins with an arched back to the pulse of subtle flute music, later lying on her side doing beats with her feet and port de bras. And although the final piece, Drought, doesn't work (how could those slumped, enervated figures carrying dry branches suddenly find the energy for leaps?), Gilbert is a choreographer with lots of growth potential.
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|Article Type:||Dance Review|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2001|
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