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S/M/L (Review)

By Nicholas Korn · June 2nd, 2011 · Fringe
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Ideas and ambitions come in all shapes and sizes, and the three modern-dance works that comprise the triptych of S/M/L, presented by MamLuft& Co. Dance, are each in their own way small, medium and large.

The first piece, Small: Restless Hands Under a Trembling Table, opens arrestingly enough with a pair of dancers (Jacquelyn Corcoran and Elena Rodriguez) dressed in white, and wrapped in a long red fabric stretching from the opposite side of the stage (Hanke 1, 1128 Main St.). They are joined by another pair dressed in black (Emily Scott and Jamahl Wallace, the troupe’s sole male dancer), who begin to both court and torment their pale counterparts. Legless tabletops and various chairs offer some nice moments of metaphor, and a few missed opportunities, especially in the pas de deux on wheeled office chairs that could have lent the starkness of this piece a glimpse of grace and levity.

I also wished the choreography had established and followed differences between the two relationships, rather than have them mirror each other so completely.

In Medium: Pursuit, Rodriguez, Scott and Wallace return to the stage with Colleen Byrne, in a series of encounters that search for perfection in ourselves and others, both physically and emotionally. Although there are some easily memorable moments where the dancers grasp their partners in bodily places that would get them arrested on the street, and a nice sequence that repeats for each of the dancers as they shed their everyday clothes down to their dance togs, the best visual comes at the end, as the quartet seems to fall in an out of place in the half-light as the dance concludes. For me, this is what modern dance does best, movements that seem simple, but are fraught with a meaning that words would struggle to describe.

The final piece, Large: Open Air, brings the full company onstage for a series of choral moments that conveys a sense of changing unities, while also allowing some of the stronger members of the troupe their moments to shine.

Despite some admittedly fine moments, what I miss most from this production and the three choreographers (Michelle Bump Morano, Jeanne Mam-Luft and Susan Horner, respectively) is a strong sense of personality and drive. Although the company understandably works with a varying level of technique and training (especially Wallace, who has a dancer’s physique, but is still building his level of skill), it’s the point of view and arc of the story that make the movements worth watching. It’s what takes the small and medium moments, and connects them to something larger.

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
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