Saturday, February 11, 2012

Keep an eye on CULTUREMARTists

HERE's CULTUREMART festival concludes this evening with a shared program featuring samples of two promising works-in-progress:

Shaun Irons, Lauren Petty and Mei-Yin Ng consider their multimedia performance work--Keep Your Electric Eye On Me--to be at a very early, very sketchy stage of development. I'll have to take them at their word, although KYEEOM already brings enough ominous razzle dazzle to make me wonder what radical changes, as the creative team calls them, we'll be blown away by when the final product debuts. Irons and Petty contribute the lysergic video and sound, and Ng, the enigmatic choreography and performance, in an already well thought out, well structured display that nevertheless seems to emanate from inside one damaged or very disturbed head. While I can't wait to see what this one becomes when it grows up, I'm a little scared, too.

I saw an early rehearsal of part of Alexandra Beller's other stories at the Gibney Dance Center, and that experience drew me to this CULTUREMART showcase where Beller is showing an excerpt. This interesting ensemble piece, set to premiere at Joyce SoHo in April, comes with three unique features.

The first is a video view into the window of a building in Manhattan's Flatiron District, a voyeuristic monitoring of a couple's unheard, but clearly troubled, conversation.

The second is a big white portable structure designed by Brian Ireland--a clever abstraction of a house with a simple rectangular cutout for a door and an external, embedded ladder. "Stories"--in the form of mystifying allegiances, provocations and conflicts--smoothly drift in and out of this house. (If you go, for a view into the house, where there's always something going on, avoid sitting at the extreme left end of the audience.)

The third, and most exciting, is the guest drop-in collaborator from among the royalty of New York's contemporary dance scene. Here's how Beller describes the collaborator's role:
Every show features a different guest artist...[who] works with us for 1 hour to one day, depending on the event. Their role is structured improvisation, which is then set and developed live during the course of the performance.
So, of course, for that to work, your company must be perceptive and game and, in that, Beller can thank her lucky stars. (Performers for the HERE showing, besides Beller and the guest artist, include Lea Fulton, Toni Melaas, Kendra Portier, Edward Rice, and Simon Thomas Train.)

At GDC, I saw the troupe stirred by the guesting Paul Matteson who moved clean and elegant as an angel on a mission. Last evening, the springy, lusciously flexible Luke Gutgsell gave this vanguard role a far scruffier, feral edge and seemed to rouse an uncommon animal intensity in the company at the conclusion. Alex Springer will perform tonight.

Look for this work when it comes to Joyce SoHo, April 4-21.

The final presentation of this shared program runs tonight at 8:30pm. For program information, click here for Irons/Petty/Ng and here for Beller. For general ticket and box office information, click here.

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