The Forsythe Company.
Three Atmospheric Studies, William Forsythe's first work for his new company, begins with a couple whirling upstage in a linked, loose embrace, emitting childlike giggles and calls ("Cherry blossom!"). Forsythe uses the full depth of the theater's cavernous, rectangular space, light fading in and out as small groups of dancers enter, sometimes running wildly, then stopping short, or playing intricate physical games in tangled duos or trios.
The music, by David Morrow and Thom Willems, is correspondingly intermittent, with long notes of chords that add to the dreamlike unreality of the atmosphere--as do the enigmatic phrases projected on the back wall: "Resembling Dawn," "An explosion, too distant to be heard," "His last afternoon as himself." Spencer Finch's lighting, from overhead colored fluorescent tubes, carves intimate space within the huge stage volume, then suddenly expands it to a vast field.
Forsythe builds the piece slowly, almost imperceptibly filling the stage with dancers who move like liquid, creating sharp angles and voluptuous curves simultaneously. The movement possesses an animal-like, instinctive quality, yet can also deploy ballet's lines and tension. By the end of part one, the dancers have almost melted into the upstage darkness, as Heidi Vierthaler contorts her body on the floor. Only Jone San Martin, in a tour de force performance that makes passivity into a compelling focus, remains seated, staring blankly forward.
In part two, that passivity is given a context. The stage has been narrowed and foreshortened by an angled wall, with a door for entrances and exits. David Kern speaks of the relationships between clouds, then examines a disaster site ("Here is a videocassette; here is a femur bone"). Dana Caspersen, her voice transmuted into nasal male tones, attempts to justify something to the catatonic San Martin. The dancing is violent, paroxysmal. The narrative seems to be about war--and perhaps it is--but then no Forsythe work is ever what it first seems. By the third night, a new section had been added. Who knows what it will become by the thirtieth?
For more information: www.theforsythecompany.de
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|Article Type:||Dance Review|
|Date:||Aug 1, 2005|
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