“Stranger” Gets an A

Big Range Dance Festival 2009 — Program A

Andee Scott / photo by Simon Gentry
Andee Scott / photo by Simon Gentry

On Big Range Dance Festival’s opening night, I Am Stranger was a stand-out. The piece, conceived and directed by Jeanine Durning, is one of five works commissioned by solo-performer, Andee Scott for her project Woman’s Work: Reconstructions of Self. Austin was treated to the performance in its entirety last year. However, with an amendable structure, I doubt any two stagings of this segment are exactly alike.

The work explores themes of location, presence, and self. Movement vignettes are set among cameras that toss Scott’s image between video monitors like a game of catch. She endears herself to the audience, flawlessly pulling off a series of self-effacing and witty monologues. Her account of burning “the organ that covers her entire body” on a “box used to heat nutritious substances that people eat” is deliciously clever. And, Scott is laugh-out-loud funny as she makes dedicated attempts to trace her own body. Though clearly the least “dance-y” of the program’s offerings, I Am Stranger is the one viewers went home talking about.

Kristen Frankiewicz’s self-choreographed I’m So Alone is as informal and youthful as the contraction in its title. She is charming and unassuming. And, though the dance seems trapped in its linear pathway across stage, rapid-fire articulations and floor work showcase Frankiewicz’s fluid strength.

Scatterplot presents Leslie Scates and four student performers in an improvisational score. Earnest and committed, the performers (with the exception of Scates herself) simply lack the improvisational experience and the technical mastery of the more experienced dancers on the bill, making the whole work feel out-of-place. Jeremy Choate’s skill at lighting wasn’t enough to hold the scattered arrangement together.

Toni Leago Valle’s Baptism exhibits a trio of strong female performers, Lindsey McGill, Nicole McNeil, and Brittany Wallis. Valle always surprises with inventive devices. Water flings from the dancers limbs and hair after they’ve doused themselves onstage. It’s cool but treacherous. After two slippery missteps by the dancers, who recovered well despite conditions, my attention wandered from choreography to casualty.

Also on the program, were sneak previews of upcoming fall performances. Jane Weiner’s work, Village of Waltz incorporates the most lyrical segments of Eno’s Music for Airports and an assemblage of other ambient compositions. The dancers tread on books like stepping stones. It’s an elusive image. Will it be more defined in the whole of the work? Dancer, Lindsey McGill shines brightest in this segment. Her lengthy solo demands challenging sequences entirely en relevé and includes more than one lingering arabesque. She captivates with a girlish, yet melancholy, innocence.

Philip, Philip Glass, Philip Glass Glass Glass, Philip Philip Glass. The minimalist composer is a favorite of choreographers but Becky Valls crafts a kinetic equivalent in Territory. The dancers, including Valls herself, draw circular lines and boundaries which are crossed, entered, and over-stepped. As the perimeters become more linear, we see Valls take the reins as border control, literally painting her dancers into a corner. An excerpt of Valls’ Memoirs of the Sistahood: Chapter Two, this study on defining space satisfyingly completes a thought.

The Big Range Dance Festival continues through June 14, 2009.  For more information, contact Barnevelder Theatre at 713/529-1819 or visit www.bigrange.org

Reprinted from Dance Source Houston

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Audition for Site Specific in Austin

FUSEBOX FESTIVAL AUDITION NOTICE

What: Auditions for Bodies in Urban Spaces as part of the Fusebox
Festival in April 09
Who: Choreographer Willi Dorner presented by Fusebox and the Austrian
Cultural Trust
When: Auditions will be held from noon till 4pm on Sunday Feb 15th @
the Blue Theater (916 Springdale Rd, Austin TX).

The piece will be performed on
April 25-26th as part of the Fusebox festival

They are looking for about 20 to 25 dancers.  there will be a
simple rehearsal schedule (roughly the week of the performance) and
then a couple of performances that opening weekend of the festival.
Contact: Email ron@fuseboxfestival.com to schedule an audition

MORE INFO ON THE PERFORMANCE:

“bodies in urban spaces” is a moving trail, choreographed for a group
of dancers. The performers lead the audience through selected parts of
public and semi-public spaces. A chain of physical interventions set
up very quickly and only existing temporarily, allows the viewer to
perceive the same space or place in a new and different way – on the
run.

PAST PERFORMANCES:

01.06.2007           Baden (Austria); ‚Viertelfestival NÖ –
Industrieviertel 2007′ (1 perf.)

04.07.2007              Paris, ‚Festival Paris Quartier d’été’ (3
perf.)

28.07.2007           Chamarande (France), Festival ‚Urban
Connections’ (2 perf.)

29.09.2007           Opera Lille, France, “Happy Day” by Christian
Rizzo (3perf.)

11.-13.10.2007       Vienna (3 perf.)

25.07.2008               Regionale, Steiermark, Austria (2 perf.)

08., 9.10.2008,      Helsinki,URB 08, urban festival (2 perf.)

26., 27.08.2008       Stockholm, Dansens Hus (5 perf.)

05., 06.09.2008       Philadelphia, Philadelphia Live Arts Festival (2
perf.)

20.09.2008               Rouen, Les Dessous du Patrimoine (2 perf.)

23.-25.10.2008      Bern, Schweiz, Festival Tanz in.Bern (4 perf.)

REVIEW FROM PHILADELPHIA LIVE ARTS PERFORMANCE

” Bodies in Urban Spaces. Hats off to Live Arts for bringing Willi
Dorner from Austria to stage this spectacle. It was a delight,
inviting us to look closely at our city and at bodies in relation to
architecture. In a herdlike audience of roughly 500, one could
encounter friends by chance or share the playful experience with
strangers.

Starting at JFK Plaza and ending in Rittenhouse Square, the event
wound through walkways and plazas, buildings and alleys, like a live
Where’s Waldo?, always seeking out the next in a series of human
sculptures. Twenty-one dancers in colorful sweats and hoodies formed
and re-formed pileups. These were orderly – two sets of three in fetal
crouches, sneakers protruding – or sardinelike, or more random, draped
close or with angled limbs jutting out. By assisting one another, they
climbed high above doorways or low into tree wells, poured into tight
phone-boothlike enclosures or spread out in lines along the ground.

Bodies in Urban Spaces, besides being a wonder of organization and
stamina, was a model of public art: free, fun, and transformative.” –
Lisa Kraus

ARTIST BIO

Willi Dorner – born 1959 in Baden, Austria – studied dance, dance
pedagogy and dance therapy at the ‘Austrian Society for Dance Therapy’
and is a certified Alexander technique teacher. From 1983 until 1986
he was a student at the Vienna Conservatory for Music and the
Performing Arts. He studied at Erick Hawkins Studio in New York and at
the School for Body-Mind Centering in Developmental Movement. Further
work was with Andrew Harwood, Dani Lepkoff, Irene Hultman and Stephen
Petronio. Dorner was a member of Nina Martin’s company in New York and
I.D.A. – Mark Tompkins Company in Paris.

He started to choreograph his own productions in 1990: Alien (1990),
and now (1992), intertwining (1997), mazy (1999), back to return
(2000), threeseconds (videoroom installation 2001), […] (2003), the
not at all (2002), Hanging Gardens (interdisciplinary 2004), 404
(2005), Inbetween (2006),dance karaoke (club project 2006-2008),
bodies in urban spaces (2007)

Besides his international touring dance performances Willi Dorner is
keen on creating events that give the audience the opportunity for new
experiences, insights and a different perception of every day’s life.
Cie. Willi Dorner’s stage performances and side specific works are
presented in festivals and venues in Europe, Africa, North and South
America and China. He worked as guest choreographer for the Ballet of
the Vienna State- Opera, the Dance Theatre Ireland in Dublin, the
Transitions Dance Company London and the Scottish Dance Theatre.

Prizes: the Eurodans prize in 1998, the Tendances award in 1999, the
Austrian Dance Production award in 2000, Pearls07 for mazy the films
(best editing)2007.