Weekend One Studio Showcase: there were bodies, and then there were animal bodies Jun 9, 2012

by Leah Vendl

It begins with Tahni Holt's "Sunshine" begins with the word "Satisfaction" written in neon pink spray paint on an unfolded box. The piece sets up fluctuating dualities between artificial and natural (are we able to find satisfaction in either?). With his back to us, Robert Tyree's sequin-ey black sweatsuit was a body-size garbage bag and Lucy Yim's recycling bin blue dress a sparkly piece of re-purposed plastic. Kraft paper feather-wings taped to Yim's arms made me think of the paper as skin and her skin as paper. (Plascencia's, The People of Paper, anyone?) I saw their bodies as warm, living, breathing--in contrast to cold, flat cardboard. Then, the two dancers embraced, heightening their humanity just before they collapsed and became part of the heap of flattened boxes. I witnessed the body become simply material, as recyclable as the set.

(Also, if you've never heard the fantastic sound of amplified cardboard, here's your chance.)

Danny Herter's trio sings and speaks "at one mentality" by walking us through an elaborated story of the Book of Ezekiel. Favorite moments included a sweet slow jam (new rendition) of "Caught up in the rapture," and seeing "what's happening in the spirit world." Which leads to a transcendent moment of dance: trio-with-flattened-coyote(?)-head hats.

"Pinto" was my first time seeing Corrie Befort's work live--and how she transforms a space is still stunning me. Watching the work was a cinematic experience, lights softly shifting; moments in half-darkness helped her body seemed to shift between centaur-horse-chair-human. The feeling of the piece is somewhere between childlike fantasy and eerie dream. And every material she uses in costuming influences her movement. I don't want to risk ruining the preciousness of the Ewok-esque hooded figure (Trez McBean) with too many words, but I will say that it looked almost animatronic, and had a curiosity that made me fear for the tumblage of a tall wooden coat-rack, and sad for the dream to end.

Ever wanted to throw paper at Catherine Cabeen? "Ready, Aim..." lets us talk about the female crotch and examine how women are "owning it" on the contemporary dance stage. We get to be part of the conversation as well as the performance.