IMPRESSIONS: alexanDance Performance
A Veritable Smorgasbord (The Goose Was Right!)
Choreographed by Xan Burley & Alex Springer
Featuring – Maria Callas, The Beach Boys, Quentin Burley, Amy Denio and more.
© Hannah Krafcik 2010
For those acquainted with the childhood classic turned cartoon Charlotte’s Web, the phrase “veritable smorgasbord” conjures up mental images of a fairground afterhours, overflowing with half-eaten cotton candy, popcorn, funnel cake, etc.—all leftovers that become a goldmine of sustenance and flavor. What a clever analogy, then, for alexanDance Performance to employ in their charming and diverse hodgepodge of short works: some old, some new, all performed on the basis of their yet to be fully realized potentiality.
A Veritable Smorgasbord (The Goose Was Right!) began with a delightful pre-show situated in the external entry way and along the three flights of stairs leading up into Triskelion Art’s Aldous Theater. This preface to the dancerly smorgasbord included improvisational dancers, a trumpet player, free hugs, cookies, a magician with a levitating dollar bill, and an operatic vocalist. The performance “officially” began with “Curtain Speech,” a détournement of the stereotypical pre-performance request that cell phones be silenced—the audience was asked, at this point, to play their loudest, most obnoxious ringtones as the sound score for the first dance.
The program consisted of ten short pieces (including two dances for video) strung loosely together with “interludes,” during which members of the cast entertained the audience with choreographed antics. All pieces and interludes had practically no connecting thread, other than the frequent, ingenuitive use (and embodiment) of various objects—In “Three on a match,” a trio of women structured and de-structured the performance space with cardboard blocks. During the duet “Split,” Xan Burley spit out, one-by-one, a surprisingly large quantity of pearls onto the stage. The lighthearted quartet “Pair” hinged on the tantalizing presence of four delicious looking pairs, and “Loading…” depicted a dancer as the virtuosic and vocal embodiment of a malfunctioning computer.
Humor, absurdity, quirky choreography, and numerous invitations for laughter prevailed in the majority of these works, making the few serious numbers, such as “Microfiche,” feel a bit awkward and out of place. However, the sheer earnestness of the performers, epitomized in Alex Springer and Xan Burley’s tender duet “Man + Woman,” glued the entire production together, generating a sensation of pure possibility that left me feeling, quite simply, optimistic.