Dance Review

By Lanie Reene

July, 17, 2013-Durham, NC

Strolling down Rigsbee Avenue’s bar and food truck culture, the North Carolina night air is warm, thick, and vibrating with possibilities. I join two companions sharing conversation over sliders and tater tots. We are relaxed, comfortable…stretching out each minute to the last second. The sun fades. The sky shifts from cobalt to a shade of royal blue. Florescent green and blue arm bracelets glow underneath tiny round lights bulbs. Green identifies people who have already seen the show and blue marks those who have yet to see the show. We mingle with a man wearing a green bracelet. We ask curious questions about the work, while he graciously attempts not to give anything away.  

ponydance arrived in Durham this week to present Where Did It All Go Right? as part of the American Dance Festival 80th Anniversary concert series. Hailing from Ireland, the group made this cross Atlantic journey to present their U.S. premiere and ADF debut at Motorco Music Hall.

Motorco is a music venue and bar nestled on the corner of Rigsbee Avenue and Geer Street. A traditional bar meets performance space, its design includes a bar, stage, and optional seating. Interestingly, its nontraditional treatment by ponydance articulated the possibilities of the space. ponydance chose to forego the stage and instead created an alternative performance space near the entrance, daring the audience to position their backs to the stage. This unconventional treatment of spaceallowed the environment and work to breathe, evolve and change. It became a living, breathing entity shaping and shifting the performers and work simultaneously.

The work begins the moment you walk in the door. A petite, charismatic redhead coaxes me to choose seating along the side of the performance space for a good view. She later reappears as one of the performers and hostess of the program. Articulating the evening’s greeting in a charming accent, the red-haired woman stands in a concentrated circle of light. The bar is to her left, while the audience occupies seating to the front, right, and along the left diagonal. The light causes her hair to glow with a glossy red sheen, as she stands with her back to the entrance.

She begins the announcements, exuding caution regarding the presence of strobe lighting, nudity, and pop music. Her mantra is interrupted by two latecomers. She starts the announcements over from the beginning, prompted by their late arrival. Once they are seated, another woman staggers in to finds an empty chair on the third row. The red-haired woman does not start from the beginning this time, but she makes sure to address the last seated woman often.

Female-male duet. Grooving to a distorted remake of Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing. Testing the right concoction…music, lights, alcohol. Inducingperception. Performers exit out the venue’s entrance…the outside becomes backstage.

Where did it all go right? recalls scenes from pubs, clubs, and bars, and offers audiences the space to be passive or active participants on this journey.

Pushing the boundaries of personal space and comfort, ponydance strategically carves out a unique voice for adult comedy, dance, and theater. This captivating quartet entertains edgy, clever, seductive, and comedic content using the blatant invasion of personal space to do so. It is a staple of its comedic appeal.

Speak, pulsate, gyrate, elongate, stroke, and pirouette

A collection of pop music methodically interwoven with moments of silence, text, and gesture. 

presented by American Dance Festival Concert series
Motorco Music Hall, Durham NC

Wednesday, July 17
Thursday, July 18
Friday, July 19
Saturday, July 20
Sunday, July 21
All performances 7pm and 9pm

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