BWW Review: Stimulating dance festival WOMEN/CREATE! at Live Arts New York
Photo: Steven Pisano
Seven women choreographers and their companies share resources and collaborate for this one week festival of dance. Each performance of Women/Create! contains four selections. In addition to experiencing the enjoyment of varied works and styles, the choreographers spoke to the audience after the first piece ended. Jennifer Muller set the tone for the evening with "I truly believe that movement is a language which can speak and heal the world."
Jacqulyn Buglisi (Buglisi Dance Theatre) choreographed Moss Anthology: Variation #5. Part of its two year Moss project, the dance is inspired by the writings of SUNY professor Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer, a Potawatomi biologist and poet. The imagery projected began with the roots of trees which are "like sentient beings," as Ms. Buglisi later commented. Rocks and cracks in the earth appear on screen and her dancers start bonding together, their movement incorporating interwoven hands and arms. The land turns to fire. The dance takes us through earth's cycle of renewal. The mushroom image and the final movements encapsulate the spiritual rebirth of the forest floor.
A world premiere, The Theory of Color was choreographed by Jennifer Muller (Jennifer Muller/The Works). A visual and auditory treat, lighting bathes the stage in a particular color. Text is spoken to contextualize the power and attributes of red, blue, dark purple, green and yellow. The dance and words act in combination to bring color to life. "Red is for rage.. red is for roses.... Is it cool passion or the violence of love." The poetry is truly gorgeous, layering a mental image and definite mood onto the dancer's movements. "The sea is so vast. The sky so wide. As wide and as vast as the whirlpool in your blue eyes." The yellow section was particularly memorable, ending breathlessly with "finally, I hear the faint sounds of spring. Finally, I hear the welcome songs of canaries and bees."
You Took a Part of Me was choreographed by Karole Armitage (Armitage Gone! Dance). This dance was excerpted from a longer piece which will premiere this fall. Inspired by the 15th Century Noh play, Nonomiya, this story involves erotic entanglements and psychosexual tensions in the style of traditional Japanese Ghost Noh Theater. In the splendidly sensuous section Memory Duet, Megumi Eda and Cristian Laverde-Koenig show the power of dance when elegant and precise movements are presented in unison with equally mesmerizing character development and strong wordless acting. A full production in October will include a traditional wooden Noh stage on loan from the Japan Society. I will be there.
Fun and frivolity concluded the evening's program. Snap Crackle Pop was choreographed by Carolyn Dorfman and Renée Jaworski (PILOBOLUS Co-Artistic Director). This work is a unique collaboration which will tour for two years as part of carolyndorfmandance before joining the repertoire of PILOBOLUS. The dance exuberantly celebrated and mocked television commercials from long ago. The romanticism sold by cigarette companies was a hilarious tangle of pleasurable addiction. Kennedy, described as "a man who's old enough to know but young enough to do" is assassinated, effectively shutting down the misguided joyful era. The imagery in our heads from all of the information that pours inside our brains seemed to be represented by the dancers as neurons. This particular work was a crowd pleasing dance filled with some vividly powerful structural movements.
Women/Create! is both mentally interesting and visually stimulating. The evening is a wonderfully relaxed and exciting way to see different artists sharing their style of dance. Pay heed to the instruction spoken in The Theory of Color: "Green for Go in traffic lights the world over."