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Impressions of Peter Kyle Dance's "Vigilance"

Impressions of Peter Kyle Dance's "Vigilance"
Nicole Loeffler-Gladstone

By Nicole Loeffler-Gladstone
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Published on November 30, 2015
Photo: Caleb Nussear

Nov 6–8 at Triskelion Arts

Choreographer: Peter Kyle

Dancers: Marielis Garcia, Harrison Holmes, Leigh Lotocki

Music: Brad Wentworth / Sculpture: Caleb Nussear

Costumes: Garo Sparo / Lighting: Andrew Dickerson

Peter Kyle's Vigilance, performed at the new-ish Triskelion Arts building in Greenpoint, began with an enticing barrier. A pale, thin piece of fabric hung between the audience and the stage to ever-so-slightly obscure the dancers, who introduced a series of intricately folded paper sculptures. Those two scenic elements hinted at world building that didn't deliver on its mysterious premise.

In the first half of Vigilance, Leigh Lotocki took the stage with confidence and ease of movement. In her bird-like duet with Harrison Holmes, both dancers used a pointed and obvious gaze to suggest their investigation of attention, one of Kyle's stated themes of the evening. The duet only managed to reveal the stark difference in the dancers' technical abilities and felt misplaced within the work — like something from the middle had been stuck at the beginning. With such huge ideas about consciousness I had expected the technical segments to be full of dynamic movement invention. Instead, the patterns felt predictable and overwrought in their attempt to get the point across.

Dance Marielis Garcia clad in a light blue leotard holds out an intricately folded white paper sculpture that billows out from the bottom
Marielis Garcia in Vigilance; Photo by Caleb Nussear

As Marielis Garcia performed her solo — tracking patterns along invisible lines — and later moved into a duet with Lotocki, Vigilance began to gain momentum and coherence. The two women danced conga-line style or shoulder to shoulder, bending and bobbing as they shared focus and purpose while still remaining individual.

Vigilance's defining characteristic is its use of folded paper sculptures to hide, contour or expand the dancers' bodies, and all three performers wielded them with deft manipulation. The paper immediately called to mind the large-scale structures of Chicago-based Hedwig Dances' ASCENDance, which used a similar, if not identical, folding technique.

The trio of dancers huddle around a square-shaped accordion looking paper
(L to r) Harrison Holmes, Leigh Lotocki and Marielis Garcia in Vigilance; Photo by Caleb Nussear

When they weren't in use, the sculptures lay long and flat, and were completely unremarkable. But as part of choreography that became increasingly sensitive to possibility, the sculptures transformed into a visible incarnation of air. They were best utilized when Garcia stepped behind a fully extended sculpture that accentuated her trembling, while Holmes and Lotocki worked together to make a sculpture expand and contract like a lung.

These clear moments were buried too far along in the work to redeem the pacing of Vigilance. It would be gratifying to see Kyle strip away the movement that feels explanatory and literal in favor of the poetic nuggets hidden along the way.


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