Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Dance Review: Mina Nishimura, Ursula Eagly, Ori Flomin, Three Dances for the Price of One

Mini NishimuraPresenting works by three different choreographers, Dance Theater Workshop markets this show as three dances for the price of one, but I’m not quite sure that’s a good deal.  The program lives somewhere between a sampler platter type showcase and a full-evening work.  The result leaves me somewhat dissatisfied.

Timmy’s Idea, Mina Nishimura explains, is inspired by a mocking bird that sings in her yard every night until 4am driving her crazy.  She says the bird uses a different voice every ten seconds.  It’s obvious this shaped the structure of the piece.  It’s composed of short, disconnected blips of text and movement that give the viewer little to follow.

Midway through, dancer, Kai Kleinbard, tapes a giant arrow in masking tape on the floor.  It’s the most gratifying part of the piece because it’s actually going somewhere, moving towards an end, as the arrow itself suggests.  Nishimura’s piece has a similar effect on me that the mocking bird does on her.  I am left driven crazy and a bit confused.

Are You A Dancer?  Become a Member of iDANZ Today!  Click Here. For her solo Fields of Ida, Ursula Eagly chooses to use her lamps from home rather than the fully equipped, high-tech lighting system at DTW, and the piece isn’t lacking because of it.  The lamps provide a dark, somewhat stark atmosphere, and the task of periodically turning them on and off creates an overall coherence which Nishimura’s piece lacks.

Eagly’s long limbs and hyper-mobile joints make her movement fascinating to watch.  There’s a moment when she looks out at the audience, as if about to speak, then collapses to the floor in a full hinge, an instant transformation from erect human to contorted creature.  At the end, a man and a woman enter and take a pose.  I recognize them from the piece Eagly did at Fresh Tracks three years ago.  Based on the giggles from the audience, I’m under the impression that they make reoccurring cameo appearances in her work, a signature of sorts.

Ori Flomin’s Toronto, the most developed piece of the evening, is based on recently discovered super-8 footage of his early childhood.  It’s projected in a video installation designed by Carlos Moore which delivers the footage in a contemporary way, splitting the image at times, or floating it in spiraling geometric shapes.

Ori Flomin, Photography by Julieta Cervantes Flomin, joined by Antonio Ramos as his brother, and Colleen Thomas as his sister, recreate the playfulness of youth.  Some movements are taken directly from the video, corresponding enough to make the connection, but not so much that it becomes just literal mimicking.  Their grownup interpretation of a child attempting a handstand is both comical and adorable.  Aside from moments like this, much of the piece consists of continuous, typical modern dance vocabulary which after a while becomes monotonous.

I wonder if it isn’t the fault of the three-way program which makes this evening less than fulfilling.  It’s true that a split program offers the opportunity for more choreographers to show their work, but it does not allow for the development of a complete piece.  It’s possible that each artist did not approach the work with the same seriousness they would had it been their own evening. Maybe sticking to one dance for the price of one is the way to go.

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Official Dance Review by
Julie Fotheringham
Performance: Mina Nishimura, Ursula Eagly, Ori Flomin Venue:
Dance Theater Workshop, New York
Date: October 8, 2009

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