Wednesday, August 10, 2022

SUGAR SALON: A Lovely Cup of Tea

Review- SUGAR SALON: a lovely cup of tea
Posted On 01/13/2009 15:13:15 by iDANZReviews
Hey dancers,

Sheena here with another look into the NYC dance scene. This weekend it was SUGAR SALON, a very interesting program that I had never even heard of until this past Friday! I loved their marketing theme which shows pictures of a teacup and spoon surrounded by dancers body parts! It just goes to show you how many opportunities and venues are out there for dancers- you just have to be willing to seek them out!

Sugar Salon was designed to create a nurturing home for WOMEN choreographers.  Four female choreographers are given the opportunity (earned by a rigorous audition process) to choreograph,rehearse, and commission new works through the mentorship of the
Williamsburg Art NeXus and the dance department of
Barnard College
. This January, the four choreographers were Anna Sperber, Heather Olson, Jane Comfort, and Deganit Shemy.

Their pieces were all based in contemporary and modern although they were all completely different. I’m feeling like bullet points right now… so here goes :

Piece 1 :  my imagination lives in the dark, but charlotte’s imagination
           lives in the forest (
Anna Sperber)

This piece involved 2 girls, and the whole dance was done in the dark. The stage of the BAC has one wall of complete windows, which they left open during the piece. You could see more of the NYC skyline than you could the dancers. However, when you did get a peek at them…they were utilizing lanterns and floodlights to create unique lighting images on the walls and with their bodies. For several minutes straight we watched a dancer discover what her foot looks like in a floodlight, and then her hair…her face….her elbow. Very artistic, very visionary, but honestly a little too long for my tastes. The girls were very committed and did create some amazing shapes/shadows.

Piece 2: in the river (
Heather Olson)

Three dancers, running amok onstage….that’s really what I felt about this. Some great technique, interesting contemporary lines, but very very open for interpretation. The music went from classical to the sound of a car engine starting over and over…. a LOT of repetition going on, and a lot of humor and quirkiness. I felt like if we really were "in the river", these were three waterbugs living their lives and discovering each other and the world around them. I can’t even describe the movement, for every adjective could apply: flowy, choppy, wierd, funny, gooey, neurotic…) I felt the audience didn’t know whether to laugh or cock their heads to the side in confusion at some points. But definitely an unusual cup of tea!

Piece 3: An American Rendition (
Jane Comfort)

This was absolutely amazing. Four girls, pulling off a scene from a missing persons office. A wife runs frantically into the missing persons office, seeking her husband…. where three aggressive officers give her the third-degree. The whole dance was dialogue. (What was he wearing? When did you last see him? Was he wearing a watch? money clip? coat? etc.) The girls’voices were echoing, while the wife screamed out in angst as she was tossed about in a whirlwind of activity. Great choreography and amazing execution of dance/acting/speaking/even singing! I’ve never seen anything like it. The timing was perfectly orchestrated and I actually wished the piece was longer!

Piece 4: Arena

After intermission, I didn’t know what to expect but they definitely went out with a bang here.  5 girls dressed in basketball shorts, sports bras, knee/elbow pads…. basically going at it in all senses of the word! It was like a wrestling match…. or was it? It was eerily sexual but also so unbelievably didn’t know if they were going to kick each other’s butts or roll around in fits of passion…very passionate…very physical… partnering was CRAZY. Those girls must have abs of STEEL for the partnering they were pulling off. After seeing this, I’m a huge fan of
Deganit ShemyDeganit Shemyand her company. The physicality and molding together of bodies was truly amazing.

So there it is. I bet you feel like you were there, right? I’m definitely glad I got to see this… something different, something new, and somewhere at the SUGAR SALON you were bound to find your cup of tea.

P.S. I got a glimpse of Mr.
Baryshnikov in the flesh while I was there!

Official iDANZ Blogger/Dance Reviewer

iDANZ Critix Corner
Dance Review by Sheena Di Mateo
Performance:  WAX- Sugar Salon
Venue:  Baryshnikov Arts Center, New York City
Performance Date:  Friday, January 9, 2009

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