FORCE THY HAND: ADF concludes concert series with Forces of Dance

Dance Review
By Lanie Reene

July 27, 2013-Durham, NC

American Dance Festival concludes its summer concert series with Forces of Dance, an evening that honors four choreographic pioneers in contemporary dance. This concert bridges dance generations by offering performing ADF students a chance to become intimately familiar with artists’ works.  Restaged by former company members, these works represent the amazing and diverse contributions of artists Lin Hwai-min, Martha Graham, Bill T. Jones, and Twyla Tharp.

Lin Hwai-min
A Solo from Moon Water (1998)
Image Source: SciNewsblog
The solo begins with a poised and captivating female figure entering the space. Her delicate peach colored top blends into her skin where it meets white fabric cascading from her hips to the floor. The pen is forgotten in my right hand, but the music breaks the spell and I remember to write…

Undulate             Feather             Breath                        Cool                        Water

Her movements fluctuate from fluid, soft, and weightless to quick, direct, and weighted. Even in its subtlety, everything feels deliberate. I barely notice her rise into releve. From flexed wrists, her fingers articulate small circles in space. Continuing to leave traces, her body journeys along a vertical spiral causing the shape to materialize around her.

Mysterious and enchanting, she remains with us until the last fabric of the curtain falls.

Martha Graham
Helios, From Acts of Light (1981)

Contract and Release OR Constipated and Free…
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With the collective beats of feet risings and falling in unison, Martha’s reconstruction quickly reminds us of power in numbers. Collective breath in and out, class warm-up peels off into a series of solos, duets, trios, and quartets...One soloist executes a beautiful spiral to the floor, allowing her contraction to send her pelvis back into a vertical plane. The men exuded more effort in their movement…the unitard revealing the workings of the calves, thighs, and torso.

Long lines       Transparent

Bill T. Jones
Love Re-Defined (Inspired by Love Defined, commissioned 1992)

A black flowerpot is sketched onto the center backdrop. Three stems extend from its opening and conclude that the base of tri-pedal flowers. Light pushes from the backspace to outline this silhouette. Wearing all white, 10 movers partner with each other and space. Men lift women, women lift men, women lift women, and men lift men. Who is the guy in the hoodie? Some images push to the forefront, while others support the background. Through a series of vignettes, relationships unfold and we are tasked to experience their journey as they create a new cultural blueprint…the complexity of new, revised relationships.
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Like walking in on the middle of a movie, you aren’t quite sure what’s going on, but you’re intrigued enough to put down the remote and find out. The music designates where scenes begin and end. One song transpires like one long run on sentence, and as the hooded figure negotiates his space during this moment, the song echos a phrase ‘they shot him down’. I'm instantly propelled to thoughts of Trayvon Martin. Wearing all white, it is as if we were witnessing his ghost.
     Concluding the epic journey of this work, we were left with a striking image. As the lights shift, a group of bodies transform into 2 dimensional figures…outlined bodies adding to the composition of the flower silhouette. Before their individualism is wiped clean, we witness one figure offering his hand to a lone outsider. Enough said…lights out.

Twyla Tharp
Treefrog in Stonehenge

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I will start of by saying these dancers danced their asses off! This piece pulsed with continuous energy, driving one movement sequence into the next…like a heartbeat. Their wore black t-shirts with white text and fitted black shorts...reminiscent of factory workers, and like little workers of the studio factory they churned out products of spectacle

switch leaps, side leaps, groin curdling splits, back flips, pike jumps, serpent rollovers

Image Source: English Heritage
An abrupt long pause brought all the momentum of the work to an impressive halt. Nonetheless, this piece proved to be another rod beating upon the flesh of an already dead horse. The last piece of the evening, we were left with an unconscious or perhaps conscious image that youth and studio tricks make someone's dance world go 'round.

For more on the works and performer experience visit: 

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