Kathleen Dyer New York

February 1, 2001

Kathleen Dyer New York

St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery
New York, New York

February 1?4, 2001z

Reviewed by Kevin Giordano

Of the two premieres which Kathleen Dyer New York presented in the program “The Well Seasons,” only the first, Chaingers, jelled. The evening’s second premiere, The Making of Dr. Horn, cried out for editing.

‘s theme was connection, or lack thereof. The piece began with a single dancer sweeping across the floor, making allusions to ballet with a grand jeté here and first position there. This seemingly forsaken yet contented dancer soon drew out a friend, a second dancer. The two came together in a combination of ballet movement and contact improv. Soon they were joined by a third, and so on, until seven dancers filled the stage.

To emphasize connection, the dancers held hands, forging a human chain?a device which grew ineffective almost immediately simply because it looked like girls holding hands. The group dances, however, were effective. These moments, nicely wrought, exuded a truer sense of connectedness. The movement here drew more from Ballet 101 than modern dance. And the vocabulary allowed the dancers to showcase their technique while they suggested a unity.

The evening’s second premiere, The Making of Dr. Horn, began with a sofa placed upstage right, in front of a screen. The screen showed an old Super 8-style home movie of a little girl dancing and playing piano. The dancers, dressed in blue plaid Catholic school outfits, giggled and teased their way toward the sofa to watch. The audience’s attention was divided between the movie, which eventually showed the young girl’s development into adulthood, and the dancers’ playful movement.

The vocabulary mainly consisted of the swaying hips, pointing and snapping fingers, and bobbing heads often associated with teenage girls, set against an emotional landscape mixing jealousy with curiosity. Unfortunately, the only real developments took place on film. There was little drama among the dancers, and because of the piece’s lack of action and its length?it must have lasted half an hour?a torpor fell over the room, despite the efforts of a live pianist named Monica Horn, who performed wonderfully.

Not Much Up
, a piece Dyer created in 1997, was clean and sharp, geometric and postmodern, sleek and stoic. It was a thrill to watch. Dancer Sarah Baird made a strong and charismatic showing, displaying great strength. While she gave a dynamic performance, the vocabulary consisted of a handful of phrases that were repeated over and over. A little editing would have saved the piece from feeling static.