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IMPRESSIONS: Dancer Crush at New York Live Arts

IMPRESSIONS: Dancer Crush at New York Live Arts
Trina Mannino/Follow @Trinamannino on Twitter

By Trina Mannino/Follow @Trinamannino on Twitter
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Published on October 20, 2011
Ian Douglas

Steven Reker and People Get Ready, Heather Olson, Leah Cox, David Neumann and others

Dancer Crush

At New York Live Arts , October 7th, 2011

Curated by Carla Peterson and Annie-B Parson

Steven Reker and People Get Ready, Heather Olson, Leah Cox, David Neumann and others 

©Trina Mannino for The Dance Enthusiast

 I am at a rock concert as Steven Reker and People Get Ready, a three man and one woman music and movement ensemble, take the stage. Instead of taking places at their instruments, they crouch upstage looking ready to pounce. Microphones’ Dance – Shoe is a Wild West showdown with microphones instead of
Steven and People Get Ready, Photo © Ian Douglass
pistols. Two mics and two amps distort sound while members drag, whip, and lasso the mics in perfectly choreographed style. Changes in position and level morph the mic’s pitch which ranges from nails on a chalkboard to a helicopter coming in for a landing. As the group departs from experimental sound, they launch into an upbeat dance song that energizes the rest of the evening.

Heather Olson captures my rapt attention in excerpts from four dances from 1998-2000 by Tere O’Connor. Not only is Olson a nuanced mover executing seamless transitions and covering NYLA’s expansive stage as if she is eight feet tall;she is also a comedienne with impeccable timing. In a colorful girlish dress, Olson looks like Raggedy Ann, albeit with a few quirks such as a recurring habit of smoothing pieces of her hair down and repeating “aha yes, aha no”. She could easily be the newest cast
Heather Olson, Photo © Ian Douglass
member of “Saturday Night Live”.

Leah Cox describes every detail of her movement and reveals her every unfiltered thought in Bill T. Jones’ Floating the Tongue. As she speeds up, Cox maintains her wit and never breaks concentration -no easy feat when you’re trying to verbalize what each part of your body is doing in space in front of an entire audience, and you’re improvising. I cheer her on during this marathon, hoping she doesn’t stumble over her words and steps. As she makes it to the finish line, my jaw drops. 
Leah Cox, Photo © Ian Douglass
David Neumann, known for his work with the multidisciplinary company The Advanced Beginner Group, concludes the evening in his self-choreographed Tough, the Tough (Redux). The sound score is man’s voice evoking god— that is, if god is sarcastic. Identified as “Steve,” Neumann represents humankind and our lack of stick-to-itiveness as we strive to make the world a better place. As the voice announces what “Steve” is doing – for example “mankind scratches” and “Steve takes two
David Neumann, Photo © Ian Douglass
steps”—Neumann demonstrates, changing postures with his body and eyes. His tiny, humanizing details speak to me.  “Steve” is a person I can relate to.

Dancer Crush celebrates the exceptional artistry of our field’s rock stars, and leaves us wanting more.



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