Carried Along by the Joie de Vive Apr 28, 2011

by Shango

Tonight’s opening of Catherine Cabeen’s Into the Void is her first opportunity to showcase her own ideas in an evening length performance.  Don’t assume though that what you will see is a freshman effort.  Her resume is long and varied and some would say crowned with her time with Martha Graham Dance Company.  She is very much a multi-disciplinary producer with dance being only a part of her of vision.

The performance tonight very much felt like a celebration by a performer who has spent a good deal of time learning the choreography of others.  The show was jam packed with hooks and ideas that suggested to me that Cabeen was finally able to do all the cool things on her list that she always wanted to try.  Many of them succeed and some of them rang hollow but Cabeen herself carried them all off with such joie de vive that it was easy to just be carried along towards the next engaging visual idea.

Cabeen’s opening solo is some of the most groundbreaking choreography I have seen and was worth going for that alone.  It was stylistically different from the rest of the performance and I hope to see her work with similar themes in future work.  It was swift and geometric with Asian influences and played a great deal with sustained balanced positions.

I wish I could read into the narrative for you but it never came apparent to me.  The specificity of her images certainly suggests that there was a rich storyline but neither my guest nor I could decode it.  I usually prefer work with less narrative but since it was hitting me over the head, I really wish I understood.  It all just felt so important to the producer.

I think a special nod is deserved by Kane Mathis who provided some incredibly elegant and well-produced compositions for the show.  The music was so clear it shined and it provided an incredible background for the dancers to work with.  Additionally, a nod to lighting designer Connie Yun is justified for her clean, rich and sedate lighting that made my eyes hallucinate slightly in a James Turrell way without ever upstaging the dancers.

The packed-in crowd went bananas with the ovation.  You could tell that there were lots of folks there who were there because they really cared about Catherine herself.  Many new patrons were in attendance and that is always a good sign. She deserved the heartfelt support.  I hope that Cabeen chooses to stay in Seattle for awhile because I would love to see what she does next.

                                                                                                                                   -Shango Los