Saturday, November 16, 2019

Tiffany Mills premieres "Not then, not yet" at The Flea

Top: Kenneth Olguin
Bottom: left, Mei Yamanaka; right, Jordan Morley
in Tiffany Mills' Not then, not yet at The Flea Theater
(photos: Robert Altman)

Not then, not yet
Tiffany Mills Company
The Flea
November 13-16

Making themselves at home in one's subconscious are all manner of energies and drives eluding conscious control. This is the disquieting atmosphere of Not then, not yet, a work by dance artist Tiffany Mills with Puerto Rican composer Angélica Negrón and French vocalist/composer Muriel Louveau, now in world premiere at The Flea Theater in Tribeca.

The first sight of a few toppled metal chairs--with toppled dancers crumpled beside them--hints that this chair dance, led off by Jordan Morley, will surely go in a dark direction. Indeed, a kind of "musical chairs" game breaks out. But...no game, folks. The dancers--each dressed in Pei-Chi Su's costumes that bind together clothing details assigned along binary gender lines--don't play. Not at all. Their wary, tense actions around the chairs are cutthroat, life or death, driving towards a passage in which Morley obsessively arranges four chairs in a row that, nevertheless, ends up off-kilter. Negrón's music, including vocals by Louveau, invokes the relentlessness pace of time, pressure and complexity.

Inspired by novelist Mary Shelley's writing, the piece locates humanity in a place of precarious transition, the possibility that our inherent potential for monstrosity might consume us all. Is there a way out? Surely, the condition of life in these times raises this unsettling question every single day.

Strongly directed, the performers display physical vibrancy and vivid expressiveness--traits I've come to expect from Mills ensembles. Besides Morley and Mills herself, they are Kenneth Olguin, Nicholas Owens, Emily Pope and Mei Yamanaka, and Mills is fortunate to have every one of them.

Dramaturgy: Kay Cummings
Lighting design: Chris Hudacs

The Flea
20 Thomas Street (near Broadway), Manhattan
(map/directions)

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DISCLAIMER: In addition to my work on InfiniteBody, I serve as Senior Curatorial Director of Gibney. The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views, strategies or opinions of Gibney.

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