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Neta Dance Company — "Air" and "Fold"

by Lori Ortiz
March 1, 2009
Danspace Project
131 East 10th Street (at Second Avenue)
St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery
New York, NY 10003
(212) 674-8112
Neta's "Fold" shifts in its evocations. It is dedicated to her son. The choreographer Neta Pulvermacher sings about taking him down to the river and floating folded paper boats. 'What happens to the boats,' she remembers him ask. The river takes them. The river takes care of them.

At Danspace Project in the St. Marks Church March 1, 2009, five women and Matthew Reeves perform "Fold." They play with origami cubes, boats, and hats. They roll out yards of what looks like examining-table paper across the floor and wrap themselves in the crinkly stuff. Reeves, a standout aside from being the lone male, bandages his knee in it temporarily to form a tall hat. This is just one of the intentionally mixed messages in "Fold."

Extended lengths of the paper suggest rivers. On the banks, dancers stripped to dressy undergarments perform kaleidoscopic bathing scenes. Or have they taken off some of their clothes for an examination? "Fold's" enjoyable sense of play offers a way in.

Neta, composer and accordionist Alon Nechushtan, and the rest of his Talat Trio are set up in the corner. Unabashedly engaged, the choreographer sings, belting out a simple mnemonic refrain with heart. "Fold" recalls her 2003 " Rainbow Girl," a story told in an offstage voice.

The band revs up for a rock-klezmer club scene. The dancers gyrate and colored lights flash against the krinkling paper, which becomes a rhythm-less percussive element. The dancers whip across the waxed nave on the smooth paper. Nitzan Lederman is under a formed tent of the stuff for a good part of the piece until the end, where her triumphant release makes one of "Fold's" most jubilant episodes.

The multifarious evocations recall deep subjects of life and loss, in vocabulary that accentuates the dancers' vulnerability. A folded paper stuck in the edge of Colette Krogel's top is prosthetic-looking, but not to my imaginative, male companion. Does it depend on how we look at loss? Rebecca Warner's role doesn't appear to require such bravery. She tames and we follow.

Air, which has seven sections created in '07 and '08 to George Fredric Handel's "Dixit Dominus," begins with five chairs and the dancers in rose-lake dresses. It has been suggested that chair props and Jewishness are tethered, as they might be in a Jewish wedding. There is much that is and isn't kosher in the Neta works.

The start of "Air" is fast moving. Momentary blackout signifies a second memorable section in which three hug the Church columns, seemingly forever. They move slowly, up and down, and do not travel. Warner's alluring pole dance is never vulgar. A group of eight in exhilarating duets multiplies and loose regiments leap across each other's paths in the bright uniforms. Lighting by Kathryn Kaufmann is star.

The clarity and feeling of this dance compares to Paul Taylor's "Air," or Mark Morris's "V." Neta's "Air" is imprecise, giving it advantage and edge. The cast includes Morris dancer Maile Okamura. A mixed program of "Air" choreography, in Baryshnikov Art Center for example, where the playing field is even, would be interesting.
Neta Dance Company performs 'Fold'

Neta Dance Company performs "Fold"

Photo © & courtesy of Nir Gutvirtz


Rebecca Warner (l) and Meghan Merrill (r) of the Neta Dance Company perform 'Air'

Rebecca Warner (l) and Meghan
Merrill (r) of the Neta Dance Company perform "Air"

Photo © & courtesy of Nir Gutvirtz

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