Impressions of Rebecca Alson-Milkman’s "no clean lines in the drying concrete"

Impressions of Rebecca Alson-Milkman’s "no clean lines in the drying concrete"
Trina Mannino/Follow @Trinamannino on Twitter

By Trina Mannino/Follow @Trinamannino on Twitter
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Published on March 1, 2016
Photo: Julie Lemberger

February 12, 2016 at Triskelion Arts

Choreography by Rebecca Alson-Milkman

Lighting Design: Andy Dickerson

Performers: Donna Costello, Jamie Graham and Alexis Steeves

Original Score: Aaron Drake

With solos by Alyssa Gersony and Victoria Marks for Alexx Shilling


In dance, what marks the good from the transcendent can be the imperceptible transitions that weave steps together. Transitions in life, on the other hand, are precarious. Waver in the uncertainty, and you may unravel. In Rebecca Alson-Milkman’s no clean lines in the drying concrete, she hones in on these “in between” moments, delving into unexpected twists and turns with a watchful eye.

Artist Piper Mavis’s triptych hangs upstage; it alludes to domesticity with its emblazoned images of spoons, scissors, and wooden chairs. Dancer Donna Costello jostles the scene’s tranquility. She cuts the air around her, creating a whirlpool effect with her hips, fingertips and head. In midst of her solo, Costello’s counterparts (Jamie Graham and Alexis Steeves) sit onstage and observe her as if they’re looking through a window. She’s hypnotic.

Donna Costello bats her arms above her head in front of the canvas triptych
Photo: © Julie Lemberger/www.julielemberger.com


Later the trio, limbs entangled, gingerly rolls as a unit down the stage. A palm supports a head before it slams the ground and then comes to a resting place in the crook of an elbow. The interplay between the dancers suggests the bifurcated role many women inhabit — partner, mother, worker, and friend. In Alson-Milkman’s continuous chain of spirals and swoops, the dancers, like identities, butt up against one another. At times, they merge.

Syncing up after a flurry of movement, chests rising and falling in beautiful unison, the performers settle between a place of safety and bedlam. Each time they resume dancing in a new place, they chart the unknown territory with fastidiousness and grace.

The three dancers are entangled on the floor in shadow
Photo: © Julie Lemberger/www.julielemberger.com


Two solos appear alongside no clean lines in the drying concrete. Alexx Shilling in UCLA Professor Victoria Mark’s Tourette Floret brings wit and sobering insight to Tourette’s Syndrome. The haunting revelations that surrounded the deinstitutionalization of the Willowbrook State School (a state-supported live-in facility for disabled children on Staten Island) provides the backdrop for Alyssa Gersony’s sensitive and socially-conscious solo this place with the pretty-sounding name.

Alson-Milkman returned to New York in 2014 after 12 years in Los Angeles. In an email, she mentioned that the past two years involved several transitions: raising a child, moving to a new home, and acclimating to the altered New York dance landscape. Based on her latest work, it appears that Alson-Milkman thrived in this period. She successfully brings an evening of diverse offerings by women to light.


 

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