Monte/Brown Dance

June 8, 1999

Elisa Monte’s choreography in Hurricane Deck, here with Nadine Mose and Marden Ramos, explores the struggle between partners to communicate.
Photo: Julie Lemberger

Monte/Brown Dance

Joyce Theater

New York City, New York

June 8­20, 1999

Reviewed by K.C. Patrick

If you didn’t have a history of seeing the fore-running company, Elisa Monte Dance since 1981, you would be hard pressed to see what’s new about the present, surnamedcompany. In fact, Monte/Brown Dance, as it is now known, simply acknowledges the equal partnership between Elisa Monte and her spouse, company co-founder and choreographer David Brown.

If you saw programs A and B at their June season at the Joyce Theater, you could see the evolution from Dreamtime (1986), in which Monte’s choreography explores the parallel lives of Australian Aboriginal traditions, through the New York City premiere of Hurricane Deck, in which she works through partners’ communication difficulties, to Amor Fati, her world premiere about a dance company as a dance company. Intertwined were works, new and from the repertory, by Brown-equally strong, equally topical, but not repetitive of his partner’s work except where they acknowledge their mutual Ailey lineage.

The Monte/Brown dancers are tall and strong, almost threatening at times but always sinuous and sensual. Their individuality as dancers is acknowledged, but they flow together as a united company.

While the themes of these programs may have been specific to the evolving thoughts of Elisa Monte and David Brown, they are also resonant with their audiences: authenticity and truth telling are recurrent issues for us all.