Beth Soll & Company

February 17, 2006

Beth Soll

Photo by L. Barry Hetherington, courtesy Beth Soll


Beth Soll & Company
The Construction Company, NYC

February 17–19, 2006

Reviewed by Nancy Alfaro


Beth Soll’s Mortal Angels isn’t groundbreaking dance, but fans of the minimalist aesthetic could find its conceptual framework appealing. And although at times the movement bordered on the simplistic, the running, rolls, pauses, and floor work (though not technically challenging) were dynamically varied and deftly crafted into repetitive patterns, making the hour-long piece seem sufficiently complex choreographically.

An obscure narrative suggested the horrors of war, human suffering, and the goodness of those who try to help (the mortal angels.) This “story” was presented via slightly confusing images of victims of war and circumstance. Though the storyline must have served as Soll’s seed, the information seemed visually and contextually extraneous to the rest of the piece.

The most effective aspect of the evening was Bryan Hayes’ starkly beautiful videos of the dancers running, lying, and moving through space, in and out of doors. Projected onto two diaphanous scrims (which also served as spatial dividers), the videos created a pleasingly tricky visual effect (is that the live dancer or the video we see moving?) that challenged the viewer and added excitement. The overlay of the dancers and their scrim-restricted counterparts created a mysterious, ethereal element that kept the evening alive.

Soll, clothed in angelic white with winged sleeves, gave a committed, theatrical, yet somewhat restricted performance. Although her dancers (also white-clad) were genuine and sincere in their effort, they lacked Soll’s experienced stage persona, minimizing the piece’s emotional wallop. It would serve Soll’s future work well to coax stronger, deeper performances from her young company.