AUDIENCE REVIEW: SENSEDANCE: "HALF-LIFE"
Company / Show / Event
Venue / Location
Manhattan Movement & Arts Center, New York City
A bit about you:
(your occupation, the last time you moved, your website, etc.)
retired dancer; mother of two movers and shakers;
A 20th ANNIVERSARY WITH EYES ON PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
Choreographer Henning Rübsam presented his company SENSEDANCE on the opening night of its 20th anniversary season in front of a full house at the Manhattan Movement & Arts Center on Manhattan's West Side. He paid tribute to his dancers with a program that gave each company member an opportunity to shine. Uthman Ebrahim's 180-degree leg extensions in "Petit Pas" surely are worth the price of admission.
"NONET," one of three premieres, is a fun neo-classical ballet for the nine-member ensemble. The bright colors of the costumes enhance the upbeat mood of the dancing. Elegant Maria Phegan starts out with three women mirroring her movements in canon. Patterns form and dissolve into momentary mayhem only to build new configurations, which in turn bring the fine music by one of the company's resident composers, Ricardo Llorca, to a rich and satisfying life.
The emotional impact of "TENANCY" is profound. Long-time principal dancer Ramon Thielen and Rübsam portray two men who have known and cared for each other, but have different goals. Rübsam seems to fight an inner battle before he separates from Thielen. Two women, Jacqueline Stewart and Phegan, fail to attract Thielen's attention and ultimately he is left alone. The lights fade slowly on Thielen, who retraces the opening steps of the male duet in solitude. Resident composer Beata Moon, who has been with the company since its beginning, supplied relevant original music for cello and piano.
Four dancers - Erin Ginn, Temple Kemezis, Paul Monaghan and Max van der Sterre - dance up a storm in "HALF-LIFE" (lighting by Yuriy Nayer). Direction changes happen suddenly in mid-air and the exquisite partnering is never predictable. Van der Sterre rotates Kemezis above his head while Ginn and Monaghan run around under them frantically changing their body facings. The effect is a vortex of doom. Jumps explode across the stage. Ginn and Kemezis accentuate the pulsating rhythm (music: Laibach) as they walk and then slither across the space on the tips of their point shoes. The energy is at fever pitch and the dancers start darting through superluminal loopholes in space before they collapse like broken robots onto the floor. "HALF-LIFE" is both exhilarating and devastating. The title alludes to the decay time of radioactive particles. In light of the earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent reactor melt-down in Japan earlier this year, the image of a lone raised arm in the huddle of seemingly broken bodies is a powerful outcry that resonates long after leaving the theater.
Rübsam briefly opened up a door to his past by gracefully gliding through Schubert's "Ständchen," a solo dance he choreographed twenty years ago. With "HALF-LIFE" he proves to have a vision how to propel the art form ballet into the future.
BELLA REHNQUIST, 11/06/11