RoseAnne Spradlin Dance

November 7, 2006

RoseAnne Spradlin Dance
Dance Theater Workshop, NYC

November 7-11, 2006

Reviewed by Susan Yung

Paige Martin, Walter Dundervill, and C�dric Andrieux in RoseAnne Spradlin’s Survive Cycle

Photo by Julieta Cervantes, courtesy DTW

RoseAnne Spradlin’s dances often concern intimacy and its limits and excesses. In Survive Cycle, performed in DTW’s expansive theater, the dancers were farther away from the audience than in her previous performances. Yet she still found ways to invade our senses, using huge, projected close-ups of the dancers’ faces, snippets of confessional monologues, and Chris Peck’s invasive soundtrack. The mixed results suggest that Spradlin’s artistry is best appreciated at a very close, if sometimes uncomfortable, distance.

Cedric Andrieux, Walter Dundervill, Paige Martin, and Tasha Taylor stood in separate quadrants of the stage, their isolated rib cages vibrating with increasing speed. The movement migrated to their arms and hands, manifested in Taylor as spasmodic nervous tics and in Dundervill by wise-talking gestures. In Spradlin’s intentionally gawky style, a man lifted a woman in repeating half-orbits around his body, her limbs flung outward. They seemed to debate one another not by talking but by taking turns pushing the other’s pelvis away. Curlicue hands embellished delightfully capricious runs of backward flutter kicks.

Despite the naive charm in Spradlin’s work, darkness always seems to lurk in the shadows. In this workit surfaced in video footage. After an ominous video loop of scissors cutting fabric and clothing, clips rolled of the dancers speaking of losing lovers, disappointing people, failure, inadequacy, and the apparent difficulty of the process of creating Survive Cycle. Meanwhile, the performers proceeded to lay out the pelts of cut-up clothing in a big jigsaw puzzle until the entire stage was covered, the dancers’ separate islands bleeding together like land masses colliding. The exercise symbolized the way seemingly insurmountable projects—creating an evening-length dance, perhaps—are accomplished by the accumulation of continuous small actions toward an uncertain end result.