Friday, September 27, 2013

Dante on their minds: Da-On Dance presents "Thirst"

Da-On Dance
(photo by Darren Hoffman)
Choreographer Jin Ju Song-Begin tells us that the name of her year-old modern dance troupe, Da-On Dance, refers to the Korean words for "all good things are coming." The company presented the world premiere of her first evening-length piece, Thirst, last night as part of Danspace Project's DANCE:Access program, and it shows that those words might be good to bear in mind for a while.

Influenced by themes from Dante's Inferno, the hour-long work has fleeting moments of concentrated interest--massing, bee swarm sounds played live by composer Jerome Begin and cellist Loren Dempster; silhouetted dancers stepping into feeble pools of light of their own making; a chorus of self-flagellants who inject the piece with much-needed fire; and Song-Begin's own unforgiving slashes across space. The piece is at its best when revealing her to be its supercharged engine. Her dancers capably present the shapes and overall dynamics of movement but do not seem to be living it from the inside. The map of Hell is not hell itself. If I'm overly distracted by the looks of them--even down to hairstyles--I'm not in the dance with them. For Da-On Dance, only time will tell.

with Esmé Boyce, Giulia Carotenuto, David Gonsier, Breanna Gribble, Karen Harvey, KyounJoon Lee and Elliott Reiland

Original score by Jerome Begin performed with Loren Dempster

Da-On Dance continues its run at Danspace Project tonight and tomorrow night at 8pm. For information and tickets, click here.

Danspace Project
131 East 10th Street (corner Second Avenue), Manhattan

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