Friday, October 7, 2011

Kravas and Wade at Danspace Project

Dance artists Heather Kravas and Jeremy Wade opened their shared season at Danspace Project last evening in a program billed as "distinctly different perspectives on the underbelly of desire and composure." True to word, there's nothing resembling composure in either Kassidy Chism (Kravas) or fountain (Wade). The Danspace promo continues, "Both are provocative dance makers and equally magnetic performers whose work reveals what happens when social contracts are broken or suspended." True enough, but that's where their solos diverge.

I hesitate to describe precisely what Kravas did, not out of squeamishness but, rather, a feeling that if you're spending money on a ticket, you really should get the full-on shock effect of this arguably courageous exorcism. But a performance is a kind of ecosystem, and a shared program even more so. Kravas sucked all the air out of the room and, for me at least, left very little energy for what Wade would offer after the fifteen-minute intermission. The audience politely endured it and then responded with the flattest applause I've ever heard at Danspace, where audiences are reliably supportive. It felt like an acknowledgement that merely said, "Yes, you've done your thing." Kravas's outlandish soundscape by Preshish Moments (aka Micheal Carter) should get hearty applause, though--and maybe a Bessie.

Wade, a New York legend who lit out for Europe, is a mover with a power to rock worlds. St. Mark's is a Christian church, and I wish Wade had trusted the enoughness of his half-tender, half-bizarre, shamanic performance style to transgress in this space--yes, even in this reasonable, liberal Christian space--because the extreme, continuous changes within his mind, voice, body and aura indeed transgress and bring multiple beings into his solo.

What disappointed me and, ultimately, made me drift to the sidelines, was Wade's choice to dip into some really old-school New Age-y audience involvement things--everybody make a circle, turn to your neighbor and hum at your neighbor, touch the walls and hum at them, too.... (While we're at it, Jeremy, why don't we levitate the Pentagon?) After sitting through Kassidy Chism--which, believe me, was all that was required of us, and quite enough at that--this aspect of Wade's otherwise riveting performance seemed naive and beside the point. Why bother with this when, with your own outrageous performing, you have already hit the grand slam that my Yankees could have used last night?

A Shared Evening: Heather Kravas and Jeremy Wade continues tonight and tomorrow night at 8pm. For more information and tickets, click here. 

Danspace Project
St. Mark's Church
10th Street and Second Avenue, Manhattan

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