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Published on July 6, 2011
John Radway

Thinking 'bout Space, good dancin', and should a choreographer perform? Gorgas gives her IMPRESSIONS of Becky Radway's latest choreographic offering.

IMPRESSIONS: Becky Radway Dance Projects in


at Triskelion Arts, June 26th 2011
Choreographer: Becky Radway

Dancers: Becky Radway, Laura Henry, Kathryn Holmes, Meghan McCoy, Carlton Ward, Tim Chester, Jessi Patz, Heather Seagraves, Meryl Thuston

Liz Gorgas for The Dance Enthusiast


It is of little surprise that a New York-based choreographer would find herself thinking about space.The hard reality for dance makers in this city is that most times the space you find yourself in is hardly ample enough for that grand vision you had brewing. Palisade, the newest work by choreographer Becky Radway for her eponymous dance company, was presented June 26 alongside her 2009 work Roam, as “a pair of works on wandering and open spaces (or a lack thereof)” and she’s found some novel ways to address the problem.One , by dancing on top of fellow performer Carton Ward in an achingly arching and reaching duet where for eight minutes Ms. Radway does not touch the ground. This seamless marriage of expression and acrobatics is easily the most breathtaking moment of the evening, in a night filled with performers vacillating between the sumptuous and the physical.
Photo of Roam by John Radway

Ms. Radway is at heart a classist, with highly structured sequences that utilize clear and concise organization of bodies throughout the space.In Palisade the performers are mysterious and lonely, with yearning limbs and gazes full of echoes. Roam is a meditation on movement reminiscent of Paul Taylor’s Esplanade in which the virtuosic is organically arrived at from simpler pedestrian forms. In Roam's case, patterns of walking are made sublime by torsos roiling and hips swaggering. Both works begin as large group pieces and then segues into trios, duets, and solos until reaching grand extravagant finales.

Photo of Palisade by John Radway

By the end of Palisade, the set piece by Paul Douglas Olmer, a bare-bones fence that the cast maneuvers into various shapes throughout the piece, becomes a full-fledged dancer itself and is vaulted off of, slid under, and stepped through at a dizzying pace.

I have written previously about the problems inherent in a choreographer dancing in their own works and let me begin my one criticism by stating that, as a performer, Ms. Radway is a joy to watch.Her control of her own body is such that the most basic principles of physics, namely friction and gravity, don’t seem to deter her from skating on her back one second to flipping off a metal structure the next.She is able to make dancing on another human being into something absolutely effortless.Radway also poses a shrewd eye for choosing dancers that are more than up to the task at duplicating her every roll, turn, scoot and jump.Yet while every moment she is onstage is a feast for the eyes, it renders her own dancers into afterthoughts, something that seems contrary to the work that make such an effort to create mini-worlds filled with citizens with their own sensibilities and mores.
Photo of Palisade by John Radway




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