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Jennifer Muller / The Works

by Nancy Gonzalez
September 29, 2005
The Joyce Theater
175 Eighth Avenue (at the corner of 19th Street)
New York, NY 10011
212-242-0800

Featured Dance Company:

Jennifer Muller | The Works
Jennifer Muller | The Works Studio
131 West 24th Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10011
212.691.3803
www.jmtw.org

Jennifer Muller / The Works

Presented at the Joyce Theatre
New York, NY
www.joyce.org

Nancy Gonzalez
September 29, 2005

The Joyce Theater establishes a warm, casual atmosphere for the performance of Jennifer Muller/The Works. It is the ideal size to accommodate the revelation of feelings and emotions from the performers to the audience.

The evening consisted of four pieces - two world premiers and two of Muller's past successes.

Opening was Sunlight & Shadow. The backdrop and lighting set the stage for a peaceful venue. The dancers wore shaded costumes, light and grey, a subtle play on the title. The women's frocks were gauzy and flowing while the men's pants were loose yet given structure with a heavier material and accessorized with a vest.

The four dancers started in union with one another. They were connected harmoniously yet precariously. Each dancer had unique movements which nonetheless contributed to the accord of the dance. As art mimics life, strife entered into the assemblage. The dancers disengaged, peace was disrupted, angst entered and the mood was suddenly that of disaccord. The bodies and expressions of the dancers portrayed this skillfully. The relationships, one with another, were in constant flux at this point. It was questionable as to the direction the course would take. The peacemaker painstakingly cajoled the individuals back into an assemblage. The feeling this piece evoked was fluid motion. It was lyrical and reminiscent of life and the relationships. If there is any criticism, it is that the shadow portion of the performance did not provide a sufficiently arresting contrast.

Humor was the bridge that led to the exciting world premier of Momentum. A lone performer was on-stage creating movements. In what seemed an instant, motion exploded. The brick wall at the back of the theatre was flooded with fiery orange lights, while center stage was infused with bright pink. The costumes were trendy, bright colors and pants had tabs and strips of fabric that provided further vigor and flash. The energy of the dancers was palpable and seemed to inhabit their souls. The changes in lighting accentuated the sharp, rapid steps and the larger than life, exaggerated moves of the entertainers, as did the exuberant beat of the music. This performance was the hit of the evening.

The mood changed dramatically with The Spotted Owl. The use of earth tones - browns, rusts, amethyst - subdued the mood. This social commentary is distinctive in merging dialogue within the art form of dance. The artiste who represented social conscience was particularly compelling in words and body movement. The timeliness of this piece spoke volumes. It portrayed man's - particularly Americans - negative effect on the environment. It prophesied cataclysmic events which we are now seeing i.e. the tsunami, Hurricane Katrina.

Leaves were scattered all over the stage. These symbolized both our resources and focus. Dancers collected leaves, giving one to the other, with slow, deliberate movements ending with a great number going to a select few signifying a stratified society. The resources also diminished as the show progressed, leaving some of the dancers without life. If art imitates life, this piece was successful in portraying a discomforting indictment of the way we live.

The finale of the evening was Speeds. The work was a study of music and dance, the effect that speed, sound and pace have upon action and emotions. The backdrop started with a sophisticated royal blue tone, contrasting with the dancers' pure white attire. The company changed tempo as either the music altered or as individual performers gave the command "Change!" This act was reminiscent of a science experiment, testing arousal of feeling to different paces in movement and sound. The buzzing music brought about frenzied action in the dancers and internal energy was disturbed. Languid movements evoked a calming effect. There was no plot only a theme to this which left one feeling there was something missing.

The overall evening was a success although rearrangement of the pieces might be considered. Switching Speeds with Momentum would have the audience leaving The Joyce Theatre upbeat and energized.


Anne Kochanski & Pascal Rekoert
Photo courtesy of Carol Rosegg



For more information about JMTW, visit www.jmtw.org
or call at 212-691-3803
Program notes from all programs:
______________________________________________
OPENING NIGHT GALA PROGRAM
Tuesday, September 27th, 7:00 PM
For Program Credits for individual dances refer to Programs A & B
Company curtain calls will be at the end of the entire performance

ISLAND
(World Premiere)
Refer to Program A
INTERMISSION
SUNLIGHT & SHADOW
(World Premiere)
Refer to Program B
MOMENTUM
(World Premiere)
Refer to Program B
-_____________________________________________
FAMILY PROGRAM
Saturday, October 1st Matinee, 2:00 PM
For Program credits for individual dances refer to Programs A & B
Company curtain calls will be at the end of the entire performance
FLOWERS
(Premiere: 2004)
Refer to Program A
INTERMISSION
ISLAND
(World Premiere)
Refer to Program A
INTERMISSION
SPEEDS
(Premiere: 1974)
Refer to Program B
_________________________________________________
PROGRAM A
Wednesday, September 28th, 8:00 PM, Saturday, October 1st Evening, 8:00 PM and Sunday, October 2nd Matinee, 2:30 PM
ISLAND
(World Premiere)
Island was inspired by the photographs of Roberto Dutesco
Choreography: Jennifer Muller
Assistant to the Choreographer: John Brooks
Original Music: Marty Beller
Film: Roberto Dutesco
Costume Design: Sonja Nuttall
Décor Design: Sonja Nuttall and Rosie Head
Lighting Design: Jeff Croiter
Wigs: Martin Duff and Elaine Mitchell, Vidal Sassoon
Projections: Paul Vershbow
CAST
Gabriel Contreras Elizabeth Disharoon Courtney D. Jones Rosie Lani Fiedelman Gen Hashimoto
Anne Kochanski Tracy Kofford Pascal Rekoert Yumiko Yoshikawa
The creation of Island was made possible by The Works' New Choreography Fund.
The Works wishes to thank Martin Duff and Elaine Mitchell of Vidal Sassoon for their assistance on this project.
Company curtain calls will be at the end of the entire performance
INTERMISSION
CITY (excerpt)
(Premiere: 1988)
Choreography: Jennifer Muller
Revival Director: John Brooks
Original Music: David Van Tieghem
Costume Design: William Katz
Original Lighting Design: Ken Tabachnick
Lighting Design Reconstruction: Jeff Croiter
CAST
The Company
PAUSE
LOVERS
(Premiere: 1978)
Lovers was inspired by the paintings of Gustave Klimt
Choreography: Jennifer Muller
Rehearsal Director: John Brooks
Original Music: Keith Jarrett
Costume & Décor Design: Randy Barcelo
Original Lighting Design: Ronald M. Bundt
Lighting Design Reconstruction: Jeff Croiter
CAST
Rosie Lani Fiedelman Gen Hashimoto
Yumiko Yoshikawa Tracy Ray Kofford
Anne Kochanski Gabriel Contreras
Elizabeth Disharoon Pascal Rekoert
The revival of Lovers was made possible, in part, by the generous support of Dr. Susan R. Harris & Thomas P. Molnar
INTERMISSION
FLOWERS
(Premiere: 2004)
Flowers was inspired by the photographs of Barbara Bordnick
Choreography: Jennifer Muller
Assistant to the Choreographer: John Brooks
Original Music: Lawrence Nachsin
Photographs: Barbara Bordnick
Costume Design: Karen Small, Nick Putvinski and Stageworks
Lighting Design: Jeff Croiter
Projections: Paul Vershbow
CAST
Gabriel Contreras Elizabeth Disharoon Courtney D. Jones Rosie Lani Fiedelman
Gen Hashimoto Anne Kochanski Tracy Ray Kofford Pascal Rekoert Yumiko Yoshikawa
The Works wishes to thank Jan Hartley and Izquierdo Studio for its assistance on this project
__________________________________________________________________________________
PROGRAM B
Thursday, September 29th, 8:00 PM; Friday, September 30th 8:00 PM; and Sunday, October 2nd, 7:30 PM
SUNLIGHT & SHADOW
(World Premiere)
Choreography: Jennifer Muller
Assistant to the Choreographer: John Brooks
Original Music: Geoffrey Menin
Costume Design: Martin Izquierdo
Lighting Design: Jeff Croiter
Music Performed by: Greg Anton (drums & percussion); Stanley Jordan (guitar); Paul McCandless (English horn, oboe, soprano saxophone, bass clarinet, penny whistle); Geoffrey Menin (piano); Glen Moore (bass)
CAST
Anne Kochanski Tracy Ray Kofford Pascal Rekoert Yumiko Yoshikawa
The creation of Sunlight & Shadow was made possible by IDT Corporation and The Works' New Choreography Fund. The Works wishes to thank Martin Izquierdo, Izquierdo Studio, Steven Greenburg and Geoffrey Menin for their assistance on this project
Company curtain calls will be at the end of the entire performance
PAUSE
MOMENTUM
(World Premiere)
Choreography: Jennifer Muller
Assistant to the Choreographer: John Brooks
Music: Yello*
Costumes Design: Nick Putvinski,
Costume Design Assistant: Rosie Lani Fiedelman
Lighting Design: Jeff Croiter
CAST
Gabriel Contreras Elizabeth Disharoon Courtney D. Jones Rosie Lani Fiedelman
Gen Hashimoto Anne Kochanski Tracy Ray Kofford Pascal Rekoert Yumiko Yoshikawa
Music drawn from the CD and bonus CD: Yello the Eye
The creation of Momentum was made possible by The Works' New Choreography Fund, with generous support from The Harkness Foundation for Dance. The Works would like to thank Nick Putvinski for his support of this project.
INTERMISSION
THE SPOTTED OWL
(Premiere: 1995))
Choreography & Text: Jennifer Muller
Assistant to the Choreographer: John Brooks
Original Music: Marty Beller
Additional Text: Sharon Begley; Keith Bradisher; Chung Tzu; J. Ronald Engel; Al Gore; David M. Ludlum; Susan Middleton and David Littschwager; Anthony Milne; Vance Packard; Chirs Park; Andrew Revkin; Jeremy Rifkin; and Karen Wright.
Costume & Décor Design: Karen Small
Décor Design: Stageworks
Original Lighting Design: Kristabelle Munson
Lighting Design Reconstruction: Jeff Croiter
Text Research Assistance: Glenn Duncan, Michael Jahoda & David Adams
Voices on Tape: Mark Linn-Baker, Klein Brewer, James Leddy, Glenn Paris and Mark Plesent
CAST
The Company
Diego Blança (apprentice)
Guest Artists: Marty Beller, percussion; Andrew Demos: bamboo flute, woodwinds, percussion; Tim Givens: cello
The Works would like to thank Neil Mazzella, Hudson Scenic Studios, Inc. for support of this project.
INTERMISSION
SPEEDS
(Premiere: 1974)
Choreography: Jennifer Muller
Rehearsal Director: John Brooks
Original Music: Burt Alcantara
Original Costume Design: William Katz & Stageworks
Costume Design Realized: Stageworks & Nick Putvinski
Original Lighting Design: Richard Nelson
Lighting Design Reconstruction: Jeff Croiter
CAST
The Company

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