Pat Catterson

December 9, 2005

Pat Catterson in the studio.
Photo by Tom Caravaglia.

Pat Catterson
Merce Cunningham Studio, New York, NY

December 9–11, 2005

Reviewed by Nancy Alfaro


Pat Catterson made her debut as a choreographer 35 years ago at Judson Memorial Church. Today, her strong, appealing, and honest voice relays taped stories she tells during her endearing solo, Hello Goodbye. Naming every dancer she’s ever worked with, she tells the stories of only those who have died. One anecdote was about Tommy Cummings, a charming and quirky performer whose sweet personality remains alive with those who knew him. Catterson also mentions that she’s a “lucky girl to be dancing at the age of 59,” and we’re lucky to see her. She’s an energetic, positive force onstage, jumping, turning, and visibly enjoying herself in a way that belies her age.

Catterson’s Two Lydias, which featured the excellent Debra Wanner and Regina Larkin (naked inside of bath towels that doubled as dance partners), was funny and poignant, with the dancers repeating the words “I’m sorry,” fueled by every emotion you can think of. These veteran performers gave it their all.

, Catterson’s solo tap dance to Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes-Benz,” was entertaining and had some rhythmic tricks, but Joplin’s voice is so powerful that stronger, more clever movement was needed to make the perfect match.

Catterson’s group works were less successful; it seems she’s at her clearest when working with one or two dancers. The group work in Blindsighted and At the Corner of Intrigue and Obsession was less focused and the movement more commonplace. Laurel Lynch, a grounded, lush, and earnest performer, stood out from the crowd in these works.