Friday, February 22, 2008

"Dancing was everything": Mapp breaks my heart again

Juliette Mapp's Anna, Ikea and I--the kinetic/aural memoir of her development in dance--is huge. Simply huge. And beautiful. And arguably the most assured, definitive presentation--and certainly the most emotionally affecting, as I see it--in this season's round of contemporary dance. Premiered last night, it concludes tomorrow evening, Saturday, at Danspace Project, and you should make every effort to get there (even in a snowstorm).

Here's the cast: Besides Mapp, there's Vicky Shick, Anna Sperber, John Jasperse, Wendy Perron, Diane Madden, Iréne Hultman, Layard Thompson, Levi Gonzalez, Miguel Gutierrez, Paige Martin, Anna Carpatayan, Natalie Green and Stacy Grossfield plus singer Nat Drake. I'd boldface all of these names, but then you'd see three lines of nothing else but dark black typeface--not so cool. Just know that they are all boldfaced in my heart. I kinda want to boldface Bob Dylan, too, since his recordings accompany two of the piece's most arresting segments--an insertion of Trisha Brown's Spanish Dance (1973), danced to "Early Mornin' Rain" and the easeful and perfectly perfect Shick/Mapp duet to "Corrina, Corrina."

InfiniteBody readers know that I'm increasingly antsy about dances that go on way too long. Anna, Ikea, and I goes on for 90 minutes without intermission. But listen up, kids: This is how you do it. At no moment--even during Mapp's extensive storytelling at the mic--did I want to be anywhere else. And when I got home, I still had almost too much energy to go to sleep.

What I loved about Anna, Ikea, and I: So much. Purity of movement. Voices arriving from on high...well, the balconies. The textural, multidimensionality of overlapping voices. Slight disturbances within stillness. Archangelic sign language. The cacaphony of voices set against serene movement. The steady, hypnotic rock of the lower body. Jasperse's set design. Jasperse whirling with his orange/fuschia comforter on his head, later looking like Chakaia Booker. Mapp's Viola Farber stories. Farber's keys. Brown's Spanish Dance--magnificent and funny. Layard Thompson. Layard Thompson. Layard Thompson. Have I mentioned how Layard Thompson redefines balance, fluidity and control? How does he do that? "What if every cell in your body had the potential to get what it needs...?" Deborah Hay. How Mapp and Shick--similar height and energy--look so great together. The film that's no film. The charm of this work as a whole and the generosity of it.

Visit Danspace Project for information on ticketing.

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