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Wendy Perron on Monday, Mar 18, 2013
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Two productions that explore intercultural collaborations with great daring continue this week. If you’re in New York, you can see them live. If you’re not in New York, you might have seen one of them live streamed on Friday, and you might see the other live streamed this Saturday.
John Scott’s infectious White Piece, currently at La Mama, starts with the gorgeously diverse cast of 14 (diverse in size, age, ethnicity, and amount of dance training) defining what love is or can be, in the most personal and rambunctious ways. Their danced and mimed definitions are delightful, witty, rag-tag. Each person is so boldly themselves. But then it changes. When one man kneels and covers a woman’s face with his hands, everything gets quiet, forlorn, poetic. She covers the hands that cover her face. This quiet moment leads to other quiet, interior moments, and that’s when you remember that the piece has something to do with torture survivors. You end up loving every single person in the cast; they are from Ireland (John Scott Dance is based in Dublin), England, Eastern Europe, the U. S., and countries in Africa. The White Piece (white for healing) was live streamed last Friday. It is deceptively simple and grows to touch the heart.
Yasuko Yokoshi’s BELL, presented by New York Live Arts, juxtaposes the formality of Kabuki Su-odori traditional dance with three ditsy/sassy/funny American ballet wannabes in romantic tutus. The Japanese performers (three dancers and four musicians) retain their formality, while the Americans (three dancers and two musicians) retain their casualness—even through snippets Adolphe Adam’s music for Giselle, which is brought on to draw a parallel to a traditional Japanese tale about a jilted woman. Yokoshi herself is stunning in two consecutive kimonos: one a stark red, the other a patterned white, with cloud-like wig to match. When Kabuki master Kayo Seyama dances alone at the end, you can recognize some of her movements that have gone before in various gender versions. Talking about romance, the Lady Gaga song “Bad Romance” is thrown in for fun. BELL will be live streamed on Saturday, March 23. Click here for access, on that day. —Wendy Perron
Yasuko Yokoshi in her BELL, photo by Ian Douglas, Courtesy NYLA