+ Add An Audience Review

More Audience Reviews


Your support helps us cover dance in New York City and beyond! Donate now.

AUDIENCE REVIEW: Chutzpah Dance presents "Insatiable Odds"

Chutzpah Dance presents "Insatiable Odds"

Chutzpah Dance

Performance Date:
May 25th, 2024

Freeform Review:

Colorful and captivating: Chutzpah Dance presented their first full-length show, “Insatiable Odds,” at Arts On Site on May 25th, 2024. This sold out performance drew crowds from near and far, all teeming with excitement on what was to come. Artistic Director Erica Isakower welcomed the audience with grace and poise, sharing the long journey her company has faced in creating this body of work. She shared about the many dancers who had come and gone until this point and the challenges of being a low-budget emerging dance company. As the lights dimmed, I found myself wondering about not only the choreographic feats I would witness but also who the dancers were behind the costumes and lighting design. 

The performance consisted of eight vignettes, each with their own title and story, yet all seamlessly woven together to tell a greater story of New York City, possibility, and community. The work started strong with “How Far We Go,” containing virtuosic floorwork and overlapping tableaus in which the dancers flowed into the earth only to rebound again. Their gestural phrasework created a languid vocabulary of intertwining phrases, peppered with technical elements that were sure to wow the crowd. This piece was followed by “Advot,” a dramatic duet between Kayla Laufer and Brei Snyder that felt like waves overlapping at the shore of the Far Rockaways. Its fluid quality held them as they moved in and out of synchronicity, while still recalling movements from the first work. This theme of reminiscence whilst surging ahead is one that Erica ushers into her choreographic storytelling throughout the entirety of the show. 

“Mesh” follows “Advot” with a complete mood shift. Rather than waves lapping at the shore, this work felt like magma bubbling under the earth’s crust, preparing for eruption. We begin to see more weight sharing and trust built among the cast members, ebbing and flowing between solos and duets. Next came “this one is for the bridge and tunnel bitches,” a solo performed by Brei Snyder which I have had the pleasure of seeing in its early stages at the Brooklyn NACHMO showings in January of 2023. While this piece has grown and changed a bit, it is still one of my favorites from the entire program. It is carefree and fun-loving, upbeat and not caught up in the worries of everyday life. It is meant to resemble a commuter’s playlist and reminds the viewer not to worry their life away or take things too seriously. The undercurrent of classical modern inspiration is evident and lots of technical moves are executed with precision. Still, this piece instills a hope for the future and an appreciation for the mundane. 

“Unowned” follows this work and continues its sense of vibrance. All of the dancers emerge wearing hot pink jumpsuits and performing gestures that resemble baking. There is a sense of humor in Erica’s work that remains even in the more serious and pointed pieces. In this work I noticed the dancers’ use of breath to inspire and fuel their movement which underscored their labor and emotion. Following this work came “Make Her Proud,” a duet between Sarah Blake and Nia Pretto. It seemed as though the dancers were communicating between another realm, as if one was a ghost of a loved one or a role model they looked up to. I was left with the question, “Who are you trying to make proud?,” a question that has stayed with me since the performance. 

“SMOG ABYSS | paper straws” came next, regrounding the fairytale scene in the present and finding the floor once more. This piece was uplifting and joyful, with moments of unison as well as the familiar image of waves at the shore. The dancers partner one another as sounds of ticking clocks come into the foreground. Is time running out? Is there a force encroaching on the dancers’ freedom? I was left with many questions and emotions as the final piece, “Inflorescence (reimagined)” began. This piece was a choreographic marathon with compelling formations, facings, gestures, and lifts. The modern dance influences return but are met with unconventional devices as well such as crawling across the stage or ending with the dancers stampeding towards the audience for a final blackout. 

Overall, I was thoroughly impressed by Chutzpah Dance’s inaugural evening length show; however, I yearned for more diversity. There were very few people of color in the cast, and those dancers were very minorly represented. It is my hope that this performance can foster further dialogues about contemporary dance practices and who has space in the dance world. I look forward to seeing how Chutzpah Dance continues to grow beyond this showing and into themselves. 



Rush Johnston


+ Add An Audience Review

More Audience Reviews