Chris Yon

June 24, 2005

Chris Yon.
Photo by Jeff Larson

Chris Yon
Dixon Place, New York, NY

June 24, 2005

Reviewed by Nancy Alfaro


Chris Yon needs a TV show. He’s Everyman, a kind of cute-yet-average Joe whose demeanor makes you smile and feel nostalgic all at once. We haven’t seen a TV sitcom based on a downtown dancer yet, and it’s high time we did. Yon is the dance community’s Jackie Gleason.

When he lets audiences peek into his life, as he did during his 45-minute show, Make It Look Real, at Dixon Place, you begin to understand how a regular kid ended up “on the boards.” He recounts his early days via a wry, humorous text that highlights the romanticism that memories produce.

The piece opens with a duet between the grounded, efficient Taryn Griggs and the lanky, no-frills Erin Wilson. They’re sporting orange vests, and their moves are reminiscent of road workers—in this case, railroad linemen. There’s seamless, easygoing unison that’s rife with gesture and individual choreography that translates well onto the dancers (and appears to be derived solely from Yon’s personal movement style: comedic, cartoon-y, and dynamically appealing).

After the duet Yon enters, dressed in a frowsy sport coat and baggy pants, muttering something about huckleberries. His apparent lack of sinew leads you to think he won’t be able to move in the articulate way he does. He’s able to skim, turn, gesture, speed up, and kneel down with ease, control, and emotional contour. Yet you also feel it’s the kind of movement that maybe, just maybe, anyone can do, because his presence lacks any kind of show-biz pretension.

Yon’s a dancer who makes charming observations and creates interesting movement set to a myriad of sounds and music. He makes it all look easy, and that’s part of what’s successful about Make It Look Real. He doesn’t try to impress. Somehow, it just happens.

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