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Renee E. D'Aoust
Performance Reviews

Cabaret Fun at the American Dance Festival

by Renee E. D'Aoust
July 2, 2008
The Keigwin performances ran from June 30 - July 2.
The American Dance Festival ran from June 5 - July 19.

American Dance Festival
Box 90772
Durham, NC 27708-0772
phone 919.684.6402
fax 919.684.5459



Keigwin + Company

Battleworks Dance Company
"Reel Time"

"Mirror Mirror" and "Two Redux"

Larry Keigwin spoofs our culture. He also dances. Keigwin's re-mix of gay cabaret, eclectic music, and balls-to-the-wall movement possible on the concert stage springs from a pop sensibility.

With Paradigm and Battleworks Dance Company, Keigwin + Company performed during American Dance Festival's 75th season. Unlike the previous week when an average of 40 people per night left during Compagnie Maguy Marin's astonishing "Umwelt," the audience stayed for the entire show.

Commissioned by the American Dance Festival, Keigwin's "Air" begins with flight attendants demonstrating in-flight safety. We see the exits, the use of oxygen masks, that deeply disquieting floatation cushion. Flight attendants stroll and roll their luggage to "Up, Up and Away" by the 5th Dimension & Al Casey.

Surely darker meanings lurk beneath. Airplanes these days mean body searches and cramped seats and profiling. These flight attendants look as if they've never spent hours waiting inside a Jet Blue plane on the tarmac. Yet if deeper meanings exist, the work would show more perversity. Airline attendants might not look so clean, so organized. Nevertheless, something light—entertainment—can also be meaningful.

By the last section, Keigwin leaves behind a "Saturday Night Live" version of air travel in favor of flight itself. Flight attendants become a flock of birds, soaring in unison to Philip Glass's "Channels and Winds." It's great to watch such agile and fluid dancers swoop and dive, especially entrancing Nicole Wolcott.

For this split bill program, Keigwin and Robert Battle, of Battleworks, set duets, "Mirror Mirror" and "Two Redux," respectively, on Gus Solomons jr and Carmen deLavallade, members of Paradigm. These are performers with long and distinguished careers, but despite these choreographers vastly different vocabulary the pieces looked the same (lots of silly miming) and simply didn't work.

American Dance Festival also commissioned "Reel Time" from Robert Battle with music by John King. Terrence Poplar startled with a leap-splat: a jump forward into the air after which he lands face down with his entire body stretched out on the floor.

Bio: Renée E. D'Aoust is a writer. She lives in northern Idaho.
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