Friday, October 18, 2013

Melanie Maar premieres "Our Other" at Danspace Project

The resonance body of this space holds light, sound, visitors, inhabitants and our time spent together.
--Melanie Maar, from program notes for Our Other
Although, on occasion, I have held back descriptive details that might spoil the freshness of experience for new viewers, I have never felt the need to stay mum about almost everything I witnessed. But here we are--with Melanie Maar's Our Other, an arresting vision of alternate selves and Otherness itself within the environs of St. Mark's Church, home of Danspace Project.

What dare I tell you about Our Other so that Maar can share it with you without my interference? A few things.

When you enter, you may sit anywhere around three sides of the performance space and--although, on opening night, few people took the choreographer's invitation--you're free to move to alternate viewing locations at will. Maar, Laurel Atwell and Marilyn Maywald perform the 45-minute piece but, in a way, the church space performs it, too, in unexpected dances of light and shadow. Manipulation of lighting, at times, brings out the beauty and potential drama of a venue that might have become, for most of us dance fans, familiar in an obscuring way.

Its quirky drama perches on a fence between elusiveness and specificity, between repetitive tedium and subtlety. Our Other leads you to question: Am I sure that what I'm looking at is ordinary or as artificial as it sometimes appears to be? Does it become more real with the performers' distance or with their closeness? Is there something here that I recognize, that I remember, that seduces?

I am seduced by Maywald's "flight"--you will see what I mean--because it is well-observed and true, the truest thing about something that could be, and usually is, rendered with lazy banality.

With lighting by Carrie Wood and Maar; costumes by Maar with assistance from Ede Thurwell; composition by Maar with additional live sound compositions by Abraham Gomez-Delgado

See Our Other tonight and tomorrow, Saturday, at 8pm. Click here for information and tickets.

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

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