Madison Elliott’s “Empty Vessel,” Part of The Future Dance Festival

April 8, 2021

When even a blink of the eyes is musical, you know the details of a work have been thoroughly thought through. In Madison Elliott’s “Empty Vessel,” directed by Taylor Yocum and set to Hobo Johnson’s “February 15th,” the camera only catches movement from the waist up, but every body part seen is strategically engaged—and every moment is timed for maximum impact. The choreography bounces between powerful phrases that reverberate through Elliott’s body and unsettlingly quiet details like a tap of a finger.

This piece was my pick for the opening program of 92Y Harkness Dance Center’s Future Dance Festival, which kicks off today. Out of 185 submissions, works from 21 early-career dancemakers were chosen for the online event by a panel of industry leaders: Kyle Abraham of A.I.M, Janet Eilber of Martha Graham Dance Company, Victor Quijada of RUBBERBAND, Taryn Kaschock Russell of Harkness, Jessica Tong of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Eduardo Vilaro of Ballet Hispánico and myself. The selections will be shown over the next three weekends, each introduced by the jury member who chose it.