Posts Tagged ‘Jeremy Lydic’

A Lustrous 25th Anniversary Season: Susan Marshall & Company

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

By Rachel Straus

To understand the power of a good title, look no further than Susan Marshall’s “Adamantine.” In its New York premiere at the Baryshnikov Arts Center (June 9), the work’s six performers were bathed in an adamantine luster. That is, a brilliant non-metallic shade of gray. At times this adamantine became darkly diluvian, like a decrepit subway station. At others it looked heavenly, like the setting against a building’s glass façade—all is golden. Through this chameleon-like landscape, a central paradox of urban living emerged. Extremes states, whether on the streets or in the mind, are the norm.

Ildiko Toth by Rosalie O'Conner

Like this adamantine environment (created by lighting designer Mark Stanley and set designer Jeremy Lydic), Marshall’s choreography has two faces. At first glance it resembles many a downtown dance piece, drawing heavily on pedestrian movement and its ho hum world. But as this work progresses, the performers’ walking, pausing and limb flinging increasingly congeal to form rhythmic, visual sparks. Propulsive patterns coalesce in the mind like Rorschachs.

Marshall also contrasts abstract and romantic ideas. The dancers’ relationship to each other is rarely identifiable; their interactions are quasi abstract. But like romantic figures, the dancers seem to seethe; their bodies appear to imprison them. Joseph Poulson and Petra Van Noort were particularly riveting. Serene sinuousness as well as violent turbulence looks vastly different on each of their bodies.

To leaven the seriousness of “Adamantine,” composer-performer Peter Whitehead intermittently appeared, playing his guitar and singing folksy tunes, which bore traces of Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger’s sound. In contrast, Whitehead’s commissioned electronic score was dark and moody. It sounded like thunder, when the dancer flung them selves to the floor. It hummed like a faraway train skirting on its rails as the cast gazed outwards.

Marshall’s other offering on her 25th anniversary program included “Frame Dances.” Unfortunately, this reviewer missed it.

From June 15-18, Marshall’s two dances will be presented at New Haven’s International Festival of the Arts. Catch this lustrous company there, if you can.