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IMPRESSIONS OF: Anne Zuerner's “Light House”

IMPRESSIONS OF: Anne Zuerner's  “Light House”
Deirdre Towers/Follow @deirdre.towers on Instagram

By Deirdre Towers/Follow @deirdre.towers on Instagram
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Published on June 3, 2014
Photo: Whitney Browne

At the Invisible Dog Art Center

Music: Galen Bremer

Costume Design: Emma Hoette

Light Design: Haejin Han & Anne Zuerner

Choreography & concept: Anne Zuerner in collaboration with the performers

Performers: Erin Cairns Cella, Zoe Rabinowitz, Phoebe Rose Sandford

May 30, 2014

The program cover for Light House has two images: on the top in black, six flourescent bulbs and four hands, angled towards a central hand and arm, curiously the same length as the bulb; below on white, a rocky seashore dotted with snails, flowers, and algae. The caption reads “Rough periwinkle (top); Common periwinkle.”

This refreshing variation on program notes sets up the anthropomorphic tone of Anne Zuerner’s earnest, stimulating homage to a duet pairing marine life and phosphorescence. One can imagine that Zuerner might have rehearsed her dancers lying by barnacled rocks covered with periwinkles. 

Anne Zuerner's Light House at The Invisible Dog
Photo: Whitney Browne

Low budgets force creators to imply what more funding could help realize, imploring the audience to jump on the train of thought. Spinning slowly while holding a flashlight and jar of blue water, Zuerner raised a metaphorical curtain to reveal a lighthouse and its nocturnal environment to her audience. She then doused herself with the water, tossing her long hair with ritualistic vigor until clamping it in front of her face.  Remaining flat front, she skittered crab-like from side to side, with precise, high arched strides. Releasing her hair matter-of-factly, she calmly walked off. Her audience followed her to a second space, with chairs on four sides of a padded floor designed by David Pappaceno. 

Dressed in periwinkle blue leotards, with a floating white veneer, three girls, each with braids pulled to the crown of their head, lay taut and alert with lit bulbs by their limbs. The drone of Gale Bremer’s score set a meditative tone, as the girls’ arms pushed the bulbs above their heads, floated up, and then dragged the bulbs back to their sides, a variation of drawing angel wings in the snow.

Anne Zuerner's Light House at The Invisible Dog
Photo: Whitney Browne

Remaining generally in unison, occasionally one would roll on their side only to slide back to her original position. As their movement increased, they gradually came together with their legs raised, gracefully waving like a plant on the ocean floor.

After a long spell on the floor, the dancers seemed wary when they rose, watchful of predators, perhaps, as they darted about. Merce Cunningham’s Beach Birds came to mind as their legs thrusted and kicked – their wide-eyed presence was fascinating.

As imaginative and robust as the upright dance was, it brought to a close any reference to the sea. The initial calm with the lazy sway of bodies outlined with light was more provocative. 

Follow Deirdre Towers on Twitter @spiffmoves

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