Ryder Darcy and Sebastian Grubb. Photo: David Papas.
Freud asked, "what do women want?" and Scott Wells, being a macho-ist
(as he remarked) answers by bringing on the men. Actually, Scott, an
equal opportunity choreographer, included women in a 'warm-up curtain
raiser,'a rollicking improvisation that demonstrated the balance of
Eight men took the stage in "Dream Dance for Two" performing
well-chosen feats from the contact improvisation vocabulary Wells has
developed over the many years of his dance career. To the running,
catch-and-lift moves, the men added sleep walking, falling, drops,
rolls and wonderful jumps that were caught and held suspended by
partners. The piece ended with an amazing solo by Andrew Ward. The
group supports the whole with concentration and focus: the audience is
always 'in' on the moves, yet continually astonished.
The major surprise in this piece was the reading done by Niamh Condon
of Michelle Tea's "Dream Dance for Two" depicting the love affair
between a lesbian and her newly acquired male lover. The text is
powerful, ironic and wicked: it both distracted from and added a layer
to the on-going movement performance.
In "Catch" performed by Jack Berstein and Aaron Jessup, ball juggling
was the extra-added attraction. Starting with two little red balls
apiece the men graduated to six and eight and kept it going while
continuing the familiar rolls, falls, lifts and balances. The timing
and coordination was breathtaking as the balls flew from one to
another. Moments of stillness brought comic intervals and humor.
I recalled the accomplishments of the Pickle Family Circus.
The "Bach Solo Trio" to the Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor brought
back modern dance memories of a piece done by Doris Humphrey to that
music. The men's group, with the addition of Suzanne Lappas, brought a
similar free swing and lyric sensibility to the great sounds played
(on CD) by BBC Philharmonic. The dancers and Ilka Szilagyi created the
partnering section at the end, which was accomplished with fine
The triumph of the evening was "Call of the Wild". Animal sounds, gang
war, fisticuffs, playful, yet energetic, all embodied yet satirized
aspects of "men dancing" and "men's play." About half way through the
piece, the men stripped down to their shorts and competed, tumbling off
the back wall onto a mat. After, they sometimes resorted to 'ballet
arms' and other 'dancy-dance' gestures, to show that that too they can
do. What is wonderful to see is that these 'guys' have no dance
mannerisms and 'show-off' techniques that get in the way of their
performance. They just do it, and do it good.
Music for all the pieces, except the Bach is listed as Rachel's. A
note on the "Call of the Wild" tells us that Morphine Stefanos
Georgantis created and inspired the role of martial-catharthis group
leader. It sounded like he was taking off from Scott Well's direction.