Heather Kravas & Antonija Livingstone

February 8, 2006

Heather Kravas & Antonija Livingstone
and PO.V.S. Tanze

Dance Theatre Workshop, New York, NY

February 8–11, 2006

Reviewed by Wendy Perron and Sarah Keough


My first kiss. I mean the first time I’ve sat in a theater with people kissing behind me. Appalled, I turned to look and instantly got the joke—they were bathed in focused light. But it was more than a joke; it unfolded as a major part of the final segment (“Mary’s Dance”) of a four-part piece conjured by Kravas and Livingston called —a situation for dancing (with an ink smudge before the words as a graphic element of the title).

Kravas and Livingstone, sporting black wigs and black knee socks, with black balloons taped to their chests, bellies, and buttocks, performed tendues across the floor (when they weren’t frozen in a doll-like stillness). Occasionally they tossed water onto the floor, so that their feet left a wet zigzag. But they were no match for the two young men whose mouths couldn’t get enough of each other. Mid-caress, Michael Heland and Daniel Linehan spilled into the aisle and slinked onto the performing area. Turns out it’s as much fun to watch people make out as it is to watch them dance.

Now, with the two strange pairs onstage, not much more happened. Kravas and Livingston had already completed the most virtuosic part of the dance: uttering in unison a series of words that mutated from the profane to the ordinary. A stagehand climbed a ladder and dropped large white flakes on everybody.

The second half of the program was given to a duo from Moscow who are part of the new experimental scene in Russia. Albert Albert and Alexandra Konnikova of PO.V.S. Tanze are terrific movers. With her fabulous, lithe body and training in physical theater, Konnikova can change her demeanor in a second. Albert has the precision of a mime and a Pierrot-like face. Both delved far into the ridiculous in 3petiX. Konnikova, who started first, came out whipping a toy around and traveled through being a little girl, a cat mad to scratch, and a retarded person cutting into a potato. He dipped and curled his arms into space as though into a vat of viscous stuff. They danced a bit together, making us hungry for more. Instead, huddled under an umbrella, they looked forlornly at the audience, he letting the umbrella droop, she tapping it back into place. (A third person, Brad Aldous, came and went, dancing a little in the end.)

These two works embraced the absurd, the first in a stark, minimal way, the second in a Dadaist, non-sequitur way. And though both contained sustained passages of high interest, they seemed to unravel by the end. —WP

February 10, 2006: Another Evening, Another View

Kravas and Livingstone started the show side by side in white shirts and black tights. They did a pivot turn over and over and over, repeating it for so long that it started to make me nervous and a little queasy. The movements were simple, controlled, and not particularly memorable, but certain images stayed in my head long after I left. One is of Kravas and Livingstone dressed as old men—grey beards, big stomachs made of pillows, white underwear with balls sown on—standing center stage while a stagehand on a ladder sprinkled snowflake cutouts on them. In another, they are naked, wearing black wigs and sunglasses, with black balloons taped to their chests and butts. Drinks in hand, they tendu across the stage, sometimes jerking and flailing their arms like someone’s alcoholic mother. The spilled drinks make patterns across the stage as they go. Then one of them pees onstage, making a snowflake pattern on the floor. I was too distracted to notice at first because two boys next to me started kissing each other. One climbed on top of the other, and the audience was transfixed as they slowly made out down the aisle and onto the stage. Somewhere in the middle of the series of simple and repetitive scenes, a marching band came down the aisles, crossed the stage, and went out the door into the street. —SK