Scott Wells & Dancers: A Collaboration, Studio B, ODC

19 Jan

Counterpulse has collaborated with ODC to present some of its fall program at ODC. the January 14-16 program Take This Dance and Shove.  It is certainly one of the accommodations afforded Counterpulse while its new theatre at 80 Turk Street is being completed.  ODC, it should be mentioned, is one of the front and center responders to the San Francisco dance community needs.

Three distinctive Bay Area choreographers, Scott Wells, Amy Seiwart and Sinichi Koga were involved;  with them a host of dancers from their three distinctive disciplines; contact improve, ballet and butoh.  While not totally successful, it was absorbing, entertaining with a near constant ripple of laughter or occasional guffaw following this unusual trio of movement styles.

For openers, Amy Seiwart was coaching the partnering of Sarah Griffin and Scott Marlowe in classical ballet with a contemporary twist. It was almost the last coherent phrases of movement, as the other six dancers and collaborators came out to tasks and directions ranging from the forceful to the sustained and minimal.  Scott Wells asked the dancers at one point to walk blindly from one wall to another; most marched confidently until they calculated they were near the opposite wall – hands went up, pace slackened, becoming tentative until the barre and the wall were touched; a visual sigh and  body relief were obvious.

Amy Seiwart mimed the gist of the Swan Lake dilemma, which came up later when Scott Marlowe started to undertake the same tale, only to have Miriam Wolodarski launch herself forcibly at him, requiring him to clutch and toss her off several times.  Quite a scene, he ended up miming she was an evil queen.  Woloedarski also had her moment requiring the group to imitate her
while she was explaining the necessary movements and balance in Swedish.

Shinichi Iova- Koga, wearing traditional Japanese trousers, ballooning on the sides and drawn together at the ankles, was called upon to move in and around a yellow box.  However impossible, he was elegant and eloquent, particularly in the final section with Dana Iova-Koga, returned  from early motherhood days; her slow movement  is still utterly mesmerizing.

Sarah Griffin demonstrated a portion of the Act III Don Quixote Pas de Deux with elan and style.  Her training may have limited some of the quirkier requests, but she was game and adaptable at all times.  Little wonder that Seiwart likes to work with her.

This set of recollections in snatches is pretty much like the work itself.  Take This Dance and Shove It seemed like colleagues just horsing around with deceptive randomness.  Judging on the laughter, more  of such skillful improvisation would be quite welcome locally, and, even beyond  San Francisco Bay Area confines.

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