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AUDIENCE REVIEW: Impressions of "Ondine" by MADart Creative
May 24th 2014
MADart Creative, in it's third year of existence, is a multidisciplinary performing arts company that aims to bring communities together through arts events. Ondine, their most recent endeavor, is a large-scale collaboration between choreographer Lauren Camp, composer Alex Weston, and video artist Chaz Ganster.
The piece begins with four ladies in white crouched in the center of the stage- they look like an abstract statue or a clump of mushrooms. As the lights come up, their movement is eerie and slow- their flowing white costumes make them appear otherworldly. Fuzzy shapes projected on the screen behind them enhance the sense of being underwater.
Ondine is an exploration of the struggle to find serenity in a world of constant stimulation- Camp was inspired to make the piece while listening to Ravel Gaspard’s de la nuit on a subway platform. We see parallels to the search for peace amongst the chaos of New York City.
The piece takes place at the Velez Cultural Center, a space in which audience surrounds performers on three sides. The piece is constructed in such a way that any angle offers equal perspective of the work. At times the performers get quite close to the audience, but it never feels confrontational- they constantly seem to be seeking something off in the distance. It is not often that the cast of four acknowledges one another- generally their focus is internal.
Megan Guinta performs a stunning solo, which juxtaposes soft, balletic gestures with large, expansive movement. She is subtle and graceful. She takes off her dress and uses it as a prop, spinning about the space.
The grounded and intense Sammy Donahue and the ethereal Megan Guinta make a fabulous pair; a duet that showcases their contrasting talents is a standout of the piece.
A thematic gesture throughout is extended arms and flexed hands. At times the gesture is a purely abstract visual motif, and at times the dancers seem to be pushing someone away, maybe the other women, maybe an external force.
At some point the screen changes to a projection of floating blue bubbles. Although it isn't entirely clear what the significance of the projections are, but they certainly lend an element of atmosphere to the work. Ondine is stimulating on many sensory levels; the elements of film, dance and music meld together to create a multi dimensional experience.
MADart consistently presents polished and professional collaborative shows, and Ondine is no exception. Camp's choreography is crisp and precise; her intuitive sense of musicality makes the movement feel luxurious and easy to watch. The 45 minute piece floats by; as the lights dim, it feels as though we are waking from a dream.