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IMPRESSIONS: Jordan Morley Dance in "Nowhere"

IMPRESSIONS: Jordan Morley Dance in "Nowhere"

Published on March 16, 2011

Liz Gorgas for The Dance Enthusiast 2011


A Studio ShowingatBaryshnikov Arts Center

February 19, 2011

Dancers: Jordan Morley, Mistral Hay, Mica Bernas, Mary Ellen Beaudreau, Genna Baroni

Lighting Design: Brandon Baker

Costume Design: Andrew Jordan

Flower Garden Design: Jim Albertelli

Liz Gorgas for The Dance Enthusiast (with photos by Andrew Jordan)


Mr. Morley’s aesthetic throughout is stark and violent; a helter skelter melee where gravity is defied as a matter of course, and eerie, askew angles are interspersed with clear gasps of beauty.

Jordan Morley prefaced Nowhere, a self-produced showing of his newest work at the Baryshnikov Arts Center this past weekend, by warning that the piece was still in the earliest stages of creation. He then proceeded to turn out one of the most deftly crafted and well-considered works I have seen in a while.In the first of a series of tenuously connected vignettes, the lights are sinister as a rag covered creature writhes and heaves across the floor.In a headpiece made of burlap and black crow’s feathers with a sightless face, a pagan akimbo-limbed god lurches to the sigh of a violin then moves, with an unnatural swiftness, to the techno backbeat.


The scene changes as three tough girls :Mistral Hay, Mica Bernas, and Genna Baroni, dressed for a slick futuristic shoot-em-up video game, reconfigure the stage by circumscribing the edges with neon caution tape.
Soon they are off, running with a frenetic speed and single-minded intensity that would not be out of plac in an action film starring Matt Damon.

In a section that closely follows, Mary Ellen Beaudreau performs a burlesque dance with a vivid red fan while bathed in a “Matrix”-green glow.Although her tease occurs in a confined, far -off section of the space, Mr. Morley uses a camcorder to capture her roiling image, which is shown in real time via a television monitor directly next to the performers. It is striking that her knowing winks and the coy hide-and-seekflutters of her fan feel so much more voyeuristic and lascivious when viewed through the mundane square of the monitor .


A set piece made up of a garden’s worth of dead flowers, designed by Jim Albertelli, is a poignant focal point for the solos that follow; their brittle beauty straddle the line of cheerful innocence and somber bleakness.In one such instance, Ms. Hay has a tormented solo in which she chews in mindless ferocity at her red-tinted hands, a grotesque parody of a child’s comfort in thumb sucking that takes on a cast of pure sweetness despite her insect-like skittering.This is a dance for the end of the world, and it is equal turns alluring and devastating.
By the end, the space has been redefined again, this time as white placards are placed on the floor with conscientious precision.“Vase” says one next to a bouquet of dead roses, the petals crushed into a fine potpourri beneath a dancer’s errant feet.“Window” comments another nonsensically to an empty floor space.A “door,” “table,” and “chair” are so labeled as well until an entire room is described in simple black lettering.Ms Hay launches herself with cruel abandon at Mr Morley again and again, a heartless bombardment that Mr Morley is futile to prevent.When finally he succumbs to her violent attacks, they lie entangled in the space marked “bed,” amid the placards, surrounded on all sides by the pink tape.
What is left is the vivid sense that a terrible tragedy has occurred and, not knowing the particulars, all there is left to ruminate over is the detritus of a crime scene.



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