Thursday, April 21, 2016

Osserman troupe presents "Quick Time" program at TNC

Ancient Egypt's symbol of the sacred eye gave Wendy Osserman a powerful focus and impetus for her 1985 trio Udjat. The piece--now danced by Lauren Ferguson, Cori Kresge and Emily Vetsch--stands at mid-range in a dance career stretching back to the 1960s. It reflects Osserman's ongoing interest in the plasticity of the body as sculptural medium and her facility at turning connected, interactive bodies into dynamic mobiles.

Performing this week at Theater for the New City, the Wendy Osserman Dance Company celebrates its 40th anniversary with Udjat and two premieres in an hour+ program entitled Quick Time. If Udjat intimates healing and eternity, Timed, the choreographer's new solo, suggests preoccupation with time running out.

"If time was a good mother," Osserman says in the piece, "she'd wait for me," a dilemma that even Einstein cannot help her resolve. Well, I will not guess at Osserman's age, but she has remained a lithe, mercurial mover. When she muses, "My body can surprise me with movement," the viewer's response can only be, Why, yes.

Timed and Quick Time--a quartet including the troupe's only male dancer, Joshua Tuason--sup from and thrive on that surprise as well as what appears to be, for better and for worse, a loosening of the choreographic grip. These works are not Udjat. They play across space and time like doodles--lines and impulses free to go where they will, twisty and slippery and clever and sometimes remarkable in the moment. Awkwardness of form and interactions--sometimes profoundly so and, yes, surprising--is permitted. The abstract physical relationships among performers flare without building towards resolution or meaning, the very things one might hope for from the passage of time.

Music direction: Skip La Plante
Musicians: Skip La Plante and Harry Mann
Set: Sanya Kantarovsky
Lighting: Alex Bartenieff
Costumes: Cori Kresge

Quick Time continues through Saturday with performances at 8pm. For information and tickets, click here.

The Johnson Theater at
Theater for the New City
155 First Avenue (between 9th and 10th Avenues), Manhattan
(map/directions)

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