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Horse - Bones

by Marian Horosko
April 2, 2009
The Joyce Theater
175 Eighth Avenue (at the corner of 19th Street)
New York, NY 10011
212-242-0800
"Horse," an all-male Taiwan-based company that first appeared in New York in 2008 with resounding success, presented its premiere of "Bones," an evening-length work at the Joyce Theater April 1 and 2.

The collaborative company, known as "Horse," consists of 5 dancers, Wei-Chia Su, Wu-Kang Chen, Yu-Min Yang, Shu-Yi Chou, and Tsung-Lung Chen. Superbly trained with several of them graduates of the National Taiwan University of Arts, the young men in founding Horse in 2004 have achieved a unique level of mastery in choreography, performance and sheer panache.

Describing what they do requires several layers of explanation. As we know, the influence of Asian arts was profound at the turn of the century, when vaudeville and early modern dancers derived several elements of Asian culture. The Asian trend now includes American modern dance as a technique and vocabulary permitting more freedom of expression.

In "Bones," the collective add a mesmerizing element of gymnastic balances, wrestling flops, clownish humor and elegant inner rhythms. They seem to have no bones in their bodies as they splat to the floor, toss each other in space and entwine.

The set is a white room with a single door for exit and entrances. The dancers enter making a circle, exit individually seemingly at will and return to make individual statements without entering or leaving in the usual theater sense. The structure is subtle. The music includes the bangs of gongs and ritual music except for one harpsichord segment danced with exquisite restraint and introspection. There is humor in one segment as a dancer follows behind another in a continuous circle grabbing the target's shoe, then the other, his jacket, trousers, shirt, tie and strips him down to his underwear, only to have the pursued continue in a circular walk as he reclaims his clothing and re-dresses.

The collective shares the stage individually and with each other (one looks like a baby sumo wrestler) as contemporary males with non-confrontational, interpersonal relationships or hostile moves. They live up to their choice of the Chinese logo, three horses that symbolize strong motivation, explosive energy and a deep passion in this case, for dance as their motivation.

The group was presented by the Ballet Tech Foundation, Inc., in association with The Joyce Theater Foundation, Inc. as part of Eliot Feld's "Mandance Project."
Bones, presented by Horse, a collaborative dance company

Bones, presented by Horse, a collaborative dance company

Photo © & courtesy of Chang Chih Chen

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