Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sperling's weather witchery at BAC

Loie Fuller (1862-1928)
Portrait of the modern dance and lighting pioneer
c. 1900
I adore the mischievous look 
and the hairdo resembling the lush swirls 
of her famous costumes.

Don't tell me magick does not work. Dance works witchery nearly every day. Among so many others, there may be no nicer witch than Jody Sperling whose Time Lapse Dance, accompanied by percussionist Tigger Benford, worked theatrical and meteorological magick, last evening, in an intimate studio presentation at Baryshnikov Arts Center.

As the radiantly pregnant (7 months!) Sperling danced her solo Not Here Yet, with fingers skittering around her belly and out into space, the studio's high, panoramic view revealed heavy weather hanging low over Manhattan. Next, Sperling's six women dancers premiered Turbulence, a Loie Fuller-esque fantasia of swirling, undulating robes of frothy white silk, depicting dynamic currents of air. Assisted by long wands sewn into the rippling fabric, the dancers conjured billows, gusts and whirlwinds, tightly timed and coordinated patterns of hypnotic complexity. Now and again, I peeked through the window as the storm gathered. As he longish piece neared its final moments--BOOM!--the sky opened. Torrential rain!

Like Sperling, I've always been fascinated by Loie Fuller, and I've no doubt her flamboyant spirit was in the house blessing this majestic ensemble. But if any doubt remained, it was wiped away when Sperling returned with a work from repertory--her Fuller-like solo, Claire de lune, from the 2005 Debussy Soirée. She twirled, the dark clouds swept off, the sky brightened.

See Jody Sperling/Time Lapse Dance tonight, 6:30pm; Friday, 6:30pm, followed by a talkback; or Saturday, June 25, 2pm, including a participatory workshop.

UPDATE: 3:30pm show added on Saturday

Tickets here or 1-800-838.3006 ext. 1
Baryshnikov Arts Center (Studio 6A)
450 West 37th Street (between

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