Sarah Konner / Austin Seldon and Dancers
"Inside of the Mountain is More Mountain (Realizing Weare Not that Deep)"
"Toads and Snakes Fell From Their Mouths"
IMPRESSIONS OF: Sarah Konner / Austin Seldon and Dancers
February 26th, 8:00pm
Inside of the Mountain is More Mountain (Realizing We’re Not that Deep)
by Sarah Konner and dancers
Toads and Snakes Fell From Their Mouths
by Austin Selden and dancers
Xan Burley, Sarah Konner, Austin Selden and Alex Springer
Lighting Design by Andy Dickerson
It takes a certain amount of choreographic skill to build a world that the audience can sink into
View Field accomplishes this; so does Toads and Snakes Fell From Their Mouths by Austin Seldon.
Platforms for honing choreographic craft die off after students leave the cozy walls of their university dance programs. After years of constant instruction, access to space and performance opportunities, it is left to the individual artist to get their work seen and to find ways to grow artistically. As any aspiring choreographer will tell you, this is extremely difficult. Welcome to the market!
is one place where growth as an independent choreographer is still possible, and Sarah Konner and Austin Seldon, recent graduates of the University of Michigan, take advantage of this space as they pursue their path side by side.
The mighty task of experimenting is certainly made easier when you have old friends who are as eager to jump into the studio as you are. Xan Burley and Alex Springer (now a husband/wife team employed by the amazing Doug Varone and Dancers) continue to hit the studio with their U of M cronies. Tonight, they collaborate on a quartet, entitled, View Field
. A well- wrought piece, crafted to each artists’ individual strengths. View Field
is composed of a series of carefully arranged moments that guide the eye and play off each other. The cool blue stage (accented only by black dress shoes and the brown, body-sized cotton bags which open and close the piece) reveals a timeless world that, by virtue of the musical selection (folk singer, Pola Chapelle) seems quasi-Italian in nature. With more arm based gestures than full body movements, the quartet merges and separates into duets, solos, and trios with great fluidity.
|Konner-Seldon :Photo by Wen Chun Liu
It takes a certain amount of choreographic skill to build a world that the audience can sink into and View Field accomplishes this; so does Toads and Snakes Fell From Their Mouths by Austin Seldon. A decidedly sensuous and psychological piece, Toads... opens with a sultry duet between Aidan Feldman and Jessica Jolly, who twist and turn in each other’s arms with palpable enthusiasm. In the process of the piece, the couple is broken up, and Jolly is left distraught. Jordan Risdon then replaces her in a slightly different romantic partnering. Meanwhile, Seldon and Megan Kendzior develop a physically forward relationship that begins as a slapping game, At first this business includes a third, Wen-Chun Liu. Liu takes on the role of “the innocent” telling a story that is garbled by mispronunciation. With child-like naïveté, she attempts to enter Seldon and Kendzior’s relationship--whether this is to become the third wheel of the group or to take Kendzior’s place it’s unclear. Liu is rebuffed, however, and the reaction to this rejection initiates a falling solo that demonstrates Liu’s ability to move with articulate clarity while on the edge of being out of control. This order of dancing is a rare feat.
Sarah Konner’s Inside of the Mountain Is More Mountain (realizing We’re Not that Deep) tackles intellectual, scientific topics making them artistic fodder. Dressed in loosely 1960’s inspired costumes, the cast literally places certain monologues into their bodies, interpreting the words as the basis for movement generation. Moving from whale sounds, to ideas of density in matter, to anecdotes about Genghis Khan, the pool of information proves too broad to establish a clear a cohesive feature. Konner’ handles repetition with sophistication, but the thread to tie everything together is lacking. Mountain... remains an intellectual exercise. However, there is talent and craft there. Konner should certainly press on. I know that she’ll be back.