Christine Uchida, Sara Rudner, and Dana Reitz in
Photo by Jaye R. Phillips
Summer Stages Dance at Concord Academy, Concord, MA
July 28, 2005
Reviewed by Christine Temin
The three women entered obliquely. The audience had passed through the same door, just in front of the stage, only moments before. But the dancers changed it completely, as they did the entire space. Their sheer focus seemed the cause of the glow beaming out over the house.
This is the opening of Dana Reitz’s Sea Walk. Reitz’s ingredients are silence, light, and movement; these she calls the “score.” Without the obvious structure that music often imposes on dance, you concentrate all the more on the choreography, to find its logic.
You don’t find it. And that’s part of what keeps you mesmerized in this hourlong work danced by Reitz, her sometime collaborator Sara Rudner, and Christine Uchida, the erstwhile Twyla Tharp dancer who came out of retirement for the occasion.
What you do find in this series of solos, duets, and trios is repeating motifs—spirals like those found in shells and hand gestures that activate the rest of the body. Hands gather the atmosphere around the dancer, pulling it in, or shake as if shedding the air. Hands dominate, but feet have a say, too, in a staccato section that suggests a tap dance.
Each woman projects a particular persona: Reitz is the introvert; Rudner, the sage; Uchida, the frenetic one. Taking turns sitting on the sidelines, they watch each other respectfully. The moments when the same movement overtakes all three of them are quietly thrilling. Each presents the choreography in her own way: It’s as if the same idea had occurred to each of them separately, but at the same time. The intricacy and minute scale of most of the choreography makes a forward rush—like a three-woman tidal wave about to land in the audience’s lap—all the more dramatic.
Rick Martin’s lighting disappointed, but the limitations of the space and instruments at his disposal made his task all but impossible. Daniel Michaelson’s gossamer gowns, on the other hand, reinforced the wafting quality of the choreography.
You become totally immersed in the sea of Reitz’s Sea Walk—to the point that it’s a surprise when the hour is over. See www. summerstagesdance.org.