Amy Seiwert’s Imagery Summer Series at ODC Performance Gallery

30 Jul

Last year it was three women choreographers; this year, Sketch 3, Amy’s sub-title was Expectations, selecting Val Caniparoli and Max Brew for two of the three dances seen at ODC, July 25-28. The trio provided an exhilarating evening with eight splendid dancers who enjoyed generous emphasis from all three choreographers.  The audience, filled with long-time dance professionals, added to the excitement.

The respective titles were Brew’s Awkward Beauty, Canaparoli’s Triptych and Seiwet’s own The Devil Ties My Tongue with dancers Brandon Freeman, Rachel Furst, James Gilmer, Sarah Griffin, Weston Krukow, Annali Rose, Katherine Wells, and Ben Needham Wood.

I took away one or two images from each work crystallizing for me choreographic intent, lucid, minted.

Val Caniparoli’s Triptych was inspired by Lalage Snow’s images of British veteran soldiers of Afghanistan, “We Are The Not Dead” before, during and after with music by John Tavener and Alexander Balanescu.  Christine Darch clothed the eight dancers in khaki fatigues close enough to military field garb to reinforce the imagery.  Caniparoli approximated march formations as the recruits submitted to discipline and then very carefully depicted combat situations, ending in the ensemble moving forward, faces expressionless, to face the audience.

Classical ballet movements linked with the awkwardness of combat necessity worked powerfully on the imagination.  I remember James Gilmer’s reaching with a grand ronde de jamb with his arms outstretched as his working leg reached second, as if to say “Why?” and one moment where Brandon Freeman caught an anguished Katherine Wells as she lept forward; for a moment the two were  majestic, a momentary sculptural triumph.  Triptych is one of Canaparoli’s strongest works since his perennially popular Lambarena.

Max Brew’s Awkward Beauty, music by Dan Wool, was memorable for me because of its tenuousness; in particular there was a downstage right pas de deux between two men, the tentative connection and motions towards and away – “Do I really want to get involved with this guy?”, a clear statement regarding male friendship and/or sexual involvement.

Seiwert’s contribution, “The Devil Ties My Tongue” with Olafur Arnalds’s score, utilized the pas de deux in several places, the lifts exciting, circling around the supporting body, once or twice a woman.  I remember Sarah Griffin aloft at an angle, arms and legs like a strong calligraphic exclamation, Chinese calligraphic style.  At the end Brandon Freeman supported a wavering, quivering Katherine Wells struggling with some inner message, but unable to support its import standing.

The dancing was superb, the choreographing intriguing and hope abundant that 2014 will provide Sketch Four.


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