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AUDIENCE REVIEW: "Project 35" by Anne-Marie Mulgrew and Dancers Company
Anne-Marie Mulgrew and Dancers Company
June 24th, 2022
Last month we watched the beautiful movement of Anne-Marie Mulgrew and Dancers. They took on an artist residency at the Chi Movement Arts Center in South Philly. This gave them the opportunity to work with a community based in the workings of Kun-Yang Lin’s dance practice. I imagine the in and outs of rehearsals, classes, and side projects by dance artists ties in a scene of creative energy. Anne-Marie has a most enrapturing dance philosophy through film, and growing through dance into an artform that captures the movements of beauty and drama.
Project 35 brings to mind the chaotic world that we have witnessed and share in through dark moments and moments of grace. The poetic piece breaks into segments of group core work and, solo, or duets. The swaying arms and use of line dramatically begins the view into the dancers’ connection to community and rehearsals at the Chi Movement Arts Center. Following this beautiful prelude that connotes choreography through the years, there is a homage to Philly’s Isiah Zagar’s Magical Garden. The film designs an entry point for audience members to step through the studio doors and enter this sanctuary.
Relating to this modern dance is a continuing theme that spoke to a mysterious landscape. The shadows mostly speak to the way in which the dancers were coming out of space, situational to one another, and we begin to learn about each of the dancers’ faces and individual language. Referencing Anne-Marie’s “one-minute dances” choreographed in 2017. Under a single spot light for 16 minutes, each dancer disappeared after one minute, and a new one-minute dance began under a new light. BASKING IN BACH a movement that connected the music with the character in each of the dancers to take on this power. That is, a power of voice, presence, by standing... by dancing.
Solo by Leslie Ann Pike broke away from the group that lifted her in the beginning, and these shifts in perspective created a level of new discovery. MEMORIES FROM WITHIN 2021 shows groundwork that lifts itself in momentum to move inward after dramatic sets of one-minute dances, and once each dancer took a seat amongst the others across the floor, that is when I believe Leslie Anne Pike showed us
A video of WORKING FROM HOME 2020-2021 was another exercise of AMM&DCO that plays with the medium in multiple ways. The gestures, the imagery, and scale play a part in the drama of “Beautiful Chaos.”
CHAOS ONE 2022 begins the narrative of the forgotten ones, or untouchables who are marked by society by how they appear to walk amongst the shadows. The figure horizontal and the dancers standing over him/her marks the boundaries of said movements, and other characters. Another figure appears to roll this horizontal figure off to the side, and out of sight. The duet continues intertwining and corresponding with circular patterns. As this happens the mask of our forgotten one behind the scene is portrayed in rags and we identify with them in this way. Later on we returne to this point in the narrative for poetic purposes, and dancers stop to read from an exerpt from, Simple Chaos selected poems of Yukio Tsuji "Silence".
For the narrative parts with dance by AMM&DCO, the duet and solo which seem to capture the changes that occur on stage for the purpose of establishing this performance best are in A MEDITATION ON HEALING THE WORLD 2022, and QUIET POWER 2019. Both of these strong visual movements compliment the narrative. Starting with “A Meditation on Healing The World” we have a duet, by Em Godfrey and Leslie Anne Pike, all in white with a pattern of repetition and mimicry. The mimesis of these two dancers carry light into the next piece.
“Quiet Power” danced by Kate Lombardi is a powerful piece that we were familiar with through costume and choreography by Anne- Marie Mulgrew from 2018's "The Feminine Gaze". The strength through stretching and moving around the body we return to the core, and this piece like so many others has a pointed commentary on the way the body moves. This is charged with the limits and bravery of dancers, and Pike likely battles with this solo as the ensemble has portrayed the movement at large. A detail in modern dance that we try to wrestle with is this movement from ensemble to solo, a collective to the individual, and it plays out wonderfully well here.
Closing thoughts: as usual Anne-Marie Mulgrew is a company that stands for experimentation. Project 35 is especially internalized in how the world may be chaotic, the body its counter part, and the two halfs begin to move our dancers in ways that explore this space between themselves and this chaotic world.