September Dances demonstrate invention and individuality
By MARIANNE DANKS RUDNICKI
NEWS ARTS WRITER
There was a time, not too long ago, when concerts featuring the works of local choreographers were frequently quite dull, one-dimensional affairs. But not any more.
September Dances, which presented the work of six area choreographers Friday and Saturday evenings at Performance Network, was proof of that. The dances were inventive and individual - both signs of the vitality of the modern dance community here.
The best of the weekend’s fare was found in two solos, both of which combined voice and movement -with very different results.
Kathy Gantz Morse has worked for two years to perfect her own variety of speech and dance. In “Remembrances,” based on excerpts from Saint-Exupery’s “The Little Prince,” the collaboration reaches near perfection. The constant motion of the dance never interferes with Morse’s smooth recitation as she is able to weave word and movement into a seamless, and delightful, whole.
Another weaver of words, improvisationist Susan Creitz, brings a smooth spontaneity to her work. To pinpoint an improvisation is a little like trying to track down thoughts mid-stream in consciousness, and each improvisation is different from the last.
On Friday night, Creitz as auctioneer accepted nickel and dime bids that turned into nonsense syllables which she plucked out of the air and cached in cupped hands, where the sounds seemed almost content to wait until recalled.
Whitley Setrakian’s solo “Mole Black, Mole White” was performed in two parts, in two different sections of the program. Part I is a minimalist study that features Setrakian dressed in a medieval hooded tunic moving ever so slowly along the wall and floor, practically hidden in the shadows.
In Part II, three television screens provide the stage light, with the only sound accompaniment for most of the piece being the murmur of inane TV dialogue. A catatonic viewer, unmoved and unmoving, sits glued in his easy chair. It’s a.marvelous set-up. But this makes the dance, consisting of disjointed shaking, pointing, crawling and sprawling to no apparent purpose, all the more disappointing.
I would like to see Barbara Boothe’s “Windshadow” again with some of its enigmatic and fleeting imagery - its recurrent movement of arms waving like tree branches in the night wind or its recurrent hands cupped over the ears - better defined.
Laurice “Noonie” Hamp’s solo, “Last Call,” is a vignette about looking for love in the singles bar. The night stalker smokes, drinks and flirts with a caricaturistic abandon that gives a superficial treatment to a subject begging for more insight.
Also on the program were Hamp’s “Moonsailing,” a lyrical work that has some good group movement but that would benefit from a sharper focus; Boothe’s “Realm of the Heart,” a psychological pas de deux whose dramatic potential was never developed in this performance, and Gay Delanghe’s lighthearted “Dancin’ Fats,” a nostalgic jazz piece in ’20s costumes performed to the music of Fats Waller.
Kathy Gantz Morse and Barbara Djules Boothe presented September Dances, Friday and Saturday evenings at Performance Network.