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Thursday, December 18, 2014

DoublePlus ends first season: Maree ReMalia and Abby Zbikowski

This week, the DoublePlus series at Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center wraps up its first season with works by Maree ReMalia | merrygogo and Abby Zbikowski. The two, both MFA grads from Ohio State University, were curated for DoublePlus by longtime OSU professor and award-winning choreographer Bebe Miller.

Fiona Lundie (left) and Jennifer Meckley
in Abby Zbikowski's destabilizer
(photo: Alex Escalante)

Zbikowski, now teaching at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), is showing her boisterous duet, destabilizer, a solid hunk of choreography. What starts off looking like a predictable gimmick--when Fiona Lundie and Jennifer Meckley show up with rolls of duct tape, you gotta figure where things are headed--turns into an explosive, deliriously creative tour de force. But it doesn't stop there. And it isn't just about two tough cookies, their punk-rock energy and prizefighter reflexes, which is as far as some less-interesting makers would have gotten. The work is surprisingly dance-y, not just athletic, and the excellent Lundie and Meckley are all over that. There's precision, rhythm, spring and sensuality in the bodies and the structure. And also, costume changes! For whatever reason! More Zbikowski, please--and soon.

Anna Thompson
in scenes from now is now by Maree ReMalia
(photos: Alex Escalante)

ReMalia (aka merrygogo), based now in DC, has a background in Gaga, the body-freeing technique created by Ohad Naharin. Her work, now is now, features Pittsburgh-based movement/sound art duo slowdanger (Taylor Knight and Anna Thompson) navigating sonic storms and small, crumpled heaps of plastic rain ponchos. As props and costuming, the ponchos offer nearly endless possibilities for a childlike, cartoonish imagination. But these are two very, very intense children and ones who never allow themselves to stay with any game long enough to get bored. You're advised to follow suit. Dip in where it suits you, pay attention to the now, and keep it moving.

ReMalia and Zbikowski's program continues tonight through Saturday. Performances start at 7:30pm. Friday's show will be followed by a Q&A with Bebe Miller and the choreographers. For schedule information and tickets, click here.

Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis
Performing Arts Center
280 Broadway (enter at 53A Chambers Street), Manhattan

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