Liss Fain at Z Space

11 Jan

Among her other attributes, Liss Fain has taste, as evidenced in her continuing collaboration with Matthew Antaky for Installations and Lighting Design. At Z Space, with its vaulting ceilings and worn wood floors, it was a visual winner all the way.

Fain also is drawn to unusual authors for her movement inspiration; for this it was English novelist Virginia Woolf, who survived childhood incestuous experience, enjoyed a modicum of happiness, but committed suicide at the outbreak of World War II by loading her pockets with stone before wading into a nearby river.

From Woolf’s writings Fain chose phrases from The Waves and Moments of Being around which to choreograph After The Light for her six dancers, minimally costumed, effectively, by Mary Domenico; Fain elected to have Marty Pistone and Val Sinckler record the phrases and thoughts she selected. Dan Wool, the composer, provided the music, employed effectively, and sparingly.

Fain had the audience sit or stand around the set/installation, Antaky’s evocative English garden metallic structure for the forty-five minute performance; they looked like village witnesses, a silent chorus, the gazebo marking the dance space with its stark white marley floor. A spotlight began the illumination as the dancers stood or sat motionless, Katherine Hawthorne, tall, motionless near one of the seated Kurashige sisters; on the other side of the set Jeremiah Crank and Alec Lytton sat near one another, equally motionless.

In addition to Megan and Shannon Kurashige, the sixth dancer was Carson Stein, similar in size, fleetness and dramatically dynamic, if two such words can share kinship.

With the still beginning, the subdued quality remained throughout the ballet, though arms swooped and interwove themselves, several lifts accomplished by Crank with one of the Kurashige sisters, the second one providing the work with a spectacular vertical jump. The movement patterns were fluid, strides were long, ensembles forming and evaporating rapidly. The language, the black tights with white tee shirts embellished by translucent embroidered suspenders, reinforced the cliche of English behavioral restraint, the underlying tensions conveyed by lengthy strides, lifts, the port de bras, the fluidity of the small ensembles.

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