Marika Brussel

April 10th, “Pilot 67, 22:16″

Choreography by Many

 Pilot 67 is a program by ODC that provides a performance venue and framework for emerging artists.  Each choreographer is mentored by a professional choreographer and ODC staff in their artistic work, production, and promotion.  I enjoyed this program last year, but it was a challenge to write about all six pieces presented.  I feel them same about this year’s Pilot 67.  So my responses here will be brief, but hopefully reflective and not merely reactive.

File_000

 

Dolly would, Garth Grimball

I could sense the thinking in this piece, a commentary of sorts on the possibility and wish of connection.  Why not?  Why not a skinny ballet dancer and a not-so-skinny club dancer?  Why not a silent dancer and a singing companion?  These juxtapositions reminded of Miguel Gutierrez show last year at CounterPulse. The weaving in of Pat Benatar’s “Love a battlefield” made sense as well as the including “would” in the title; they highlighted the why not character of the dance and the sometimes struggle to find (and maintain) relationships with others.  Even though it was a little rough around the edges, I could see the possibility here.

Gen, Ryan, Inez, Dylan, Salome, or Quinn, hers and hers

The literal and metaphorical unpacking in this piece was very particular, but at the same time universal as a narrative of perfection and “in control” was read (and danced).  With the addition of song refrains like “you don’t own me,” the danced asked the audience to fill in the blanks, to supply the cultural assumptions about what makes (or marks) identity, which linked the dancing, narrative, and music.  Like Dolly would, I could sense the thinking in this piece.

Cora, Under and Above, Marika Brussel

The dance world needs more female ballet choreographers, and more female choreographers in general.  There is an on-going conversation out there that I will write about later as lately I’ve been spending a good deal of time watching the San Francisco Ballet.  So watching Brussel’s piece is complicated for me.  While the pieces by hers and hers and Grimball were thinking through or with ideas, Brussel’s piece didn’t articulate the same level of thinking.  I kept trying to figure out what I was watching – why did it matter?

Myth of the Manta, Amelia Uzategui Bonilla

Bonilla’s piece seemed to matter, but more to her than the audience.  I appreciated learning about the textile she used in the dance: “A Cusquerñan textile is the starting point for a ritual honoring the evolving stories of growing up within immigrant culture.”  I had hard time connecting with it, and I’m not sure why.  More story?  Less textile?  

weather // body, Arletta Anderson & Adam Smith

Anderson and Smith created an atmosphere of light and play with their piece.  Their particular mix of wit (sound, text, movement, & light) led me to think about different kinds of illumination that reveal and conceal our perspectives of events, stories, places, etc.

Motion Picture, Helen Wicks

Another piece of more or less.  Choreography that sits between extremes can work. This was not the case with Motion Picture, it’s aesthetic seemed obscured, not illuminated enough toward one extreme or another.  More camp?  Less reference?  Wicks’ idea to the use of movie scores from 1940-1969 has potential, however.

Advertisements

April 11th, “Pilot 65: Cruising Altitude”

Choreography by many

There were six pieces by six different choreographers and I wrote about everyone – it was a little exhausting.

Bush of Ghosts: The Back of Beyond, Marika Brussel

Ballet recital

Morning Poems, Sebastian Grubb

Better than the first, but very self-absorbed

The Great Discovery of Self & Selfie, Emma Crane Jaster with Marie Walburg-Plouviez

A little too long, but so sweet and fun.  I can’t wait to check out the film they were working on during the performance.  It was a delight to watch.

Beckon, detour dance

I must confess a little bias here – I know the choreographers and some of the dancers.  But it was smart (much smarter than the last piece I saw of theirs last year at the USF Dance Concert).  It was nuanced and playful – it spoke.  This is the kind of the dance that matters (to me).  This dance attempted to be part of a larger conversation about relationships, communication, and stereotypes.

Still Life for Two #2, Laura Simpson and Jenny Stulberg

The technical precision was stunning.  They never really left the floor after they slid down from the wall (still life set in motion).  The music was perfect (composed for the piece).  I really just wanted to see this again and again.  It didn’t speak, but it did demonstrate the beauty of technical precision.  And sometimes that is enough and just what you need from a dance.  One last point, I could see myself in this piece – I could see myself moving in this way; yes, I still miss performing.

Sensitive Pleasures, Esmeralda Kundanis

Laughter, absurdity, flash photography.  This dance also spoke with a growing, relentless ridiculousness about fashion/style, and the need to stay “one step ahead” and be better than the next.  The end was a little of a let-down (how do you end an endless cycle?).  Sure it was funny, but by the end I had a little knot in my stomach.  There was some truth happening here and the truth these days seems a little too much to bear.  Does it really matter when wealth inequality is wrecking havoc all over the nation?  When will enough be enough?  Will we ever see a point where we can start caring for people as people?

This was a fun evening of dance (so glad it got better in the 2nd ½).  I like what the ODC is cultivating with these programs.