Liss Fain Dance at YBC’s Forum Space

24 Nov

Liss Fain has a reputation for taste and the cerebral. Both were in full view in the program at YBC’s Forum space November 17-20 under the title “Art is Not In Some Far-Off Place” and “The False and True are One.”

The taste category inhabited Matthew Antaky’s Lighting and Scenic Design,, space as measured as a cha-no-u ceremony led by a Urosenke tea master. Dividing the performance space in quadrants with spectator benches placed against the panels delineating  the perimeters, similar panels further divided the four dancing quadrants.  It gave  the spectator formal limits yet invited her/him, to wander around the edges of the dancers’ spaces, as most did, wine or water in hand during the hour-long, non-stop essay.

Where the quadrants merged was a square platform raised on a step, supporting a vintage table and lamp, chair inhabited by actress Nancy Shelby. Her delivery of text from The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis cued the dancers’ involvement and progression from one quadrant to the next. Shelby executed her assignment with a measured delivery suitable to the ruminating quality of  Davis’ prose.

Lydia Davis’ prose ruminated on micro examinations of memory, happiness, sharing – qualities a conventional replica would require leaps, smiles, embraces of the head to chest, protective encircling of the torso.  While there were lifts, partnering, encounters with the warmth associated with happy human contact was missing.  The dancers frequently faced each other, touched, supported or briefly
partnered a colleague but “togetherness” seemed absent, except perhaps when dancers sat and regarded their fellow participants.  It may well be that I believe in clear beginnings, which there was, middles, I suppose happened with the changes in quadrants, and endings, which I felt inconclusive.

This is not to say that the dancers were lacked their chops, nor that Liss Fain neglects variety.  In Mary Domenico’s elegant crinkled fabric off white ending in grey hems, a winter-bare branch tracing up one side of the thigh-ending garments or male tights, the range of bodies was one of the distinct pleasures of the evening.  Jeremiah Crank, tall, lean with sculpted muscles contrasted with Alec Lytton’s shorter, more tightly knit physique, equally well defined.  Jeannifer Beamer Fernandez, the lean American girl type was every bit as well defined; Katherine Hawthorne echoed these qualities with a larger skeletal structure, punctuated with a circular tattoo on one forearm. Shannon and Megan Kurashige provided shorter models of exactitude, starting in the quadrant nearest my bench,
their developpes measured to the fullest. In the distance Carson Stein initially was paired with Lytton.

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