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AUDIENCE REVIEW: HYPNOCRAFT presents "Liquid and Still"

HYPNOCRAFT presents "Liquid and Still"

The Lovelies with Ben Brody, Carson Moody & Trevor New

Performance Date:
Sunday, August 14th

Freeform Review:

Rachael Pazdan’s HYPNOCRAFT commissions and presents interdisciplinary work, challenging artists to push the boundaries of their art forms and forge new connections. “Liquid + Still,” HYPNOCRAFT’s latest endeavor, is a collaborative series that brings movement exploration to Greenpoint’s Manhattan Inn, a venue traditionally home to musical performances. The inaugural “Liquid + Still” features improvising troupe The Lovelies with live music by Ben Brody, Carson Moody (TIGUE) & Trevor New. Manhattan Inn, known to attract a hip, cultured crowd, proves to be an exciting and relevant space for dance. 

Manhattan Inn’s gorgeous performance area, located in the back of the bar, is encapsulated by the audience; booths surround an open space in the center. A white grand piano is a radiant centerpiece, and the light of the August evening filters through an ardent chandelier hanging from a skylight above our heads. 

In “Liquid + Still,” choreographers collaborate with musicians to create an unique live-score. As the audience grows quiet, a mellow hum begins to infiltrate the room, accentuated by the din of cocktail shakers and a low murmur of voices. Slowly dancers emerge from all corners- limbs extend into nooks and crannies and no corner of the space goes unexplored. As fingers brush past our faces, the dancers surprise us with how close they are, breaking down the barrier between audience and performer. 

Billowing costumes and the stark reflection of work-lights on exposed brick swirls together to create a hip, tasteful aesthetic. Every part of the room becomes a prop with which to play- the ceilings, the corners where the brick walls meet the ceilings, the cushioned booths, the grand piano…. Sounds echo off the walls, and we feel as if we are inside a snow globe that gets shaken up.

Mini plot lines and bits of character development emerge and disintegrate throughout, and snippets of dialogue tell pieces of a story which we assemble ourselves, infusing our own experiences. Annie Duffy speaks of a struggle to find self definition, something to which we can all relate. The audience grows quiet as she tells her story with both movement and words: "And then one day, you realize that you don't have to change anymore..."

All parties are talented improvisers, playing off of one another to create a captivating dynamic- stories develop and dissolve, we are never stuck on one moment for too long. A memorable duet is between Joanna Futral and and Carson Moody- as they lurch towards each other across the vast grand piano, Futral coyly plucks leaves from a bouquet of flowers on the piano. Towards the end of the piece, all six dancers come to a pause and the audience freezes, trying to decide if they've reached an ending- the entire room holds their breath. The dancers’ sensitivity to one another is tangible.

The dancers’ vocalizations contribute to the sound scape and the musician’s simple movement patterns meld with the audience’s minute pedestrian motions to create a larger score; music and dance seem one and the same. 

HYPNOCRAFT creates a space where collaborative interaction can happen freely. By integrating movement into a situation traditionally used for music, they work to expose dance to a new audience, making the art form more accessible ( and effectively, it would seem- the room was packed!).  All in all, "Liquid and Still" 's inugural evening is intriguing and transformative. 

To learn more about HYPNOCRAFT and what they do, click HERE  

For more on the artistic happenings of Manhattan Inn click HERE  

To check out The Lovelies, click HERE 

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