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Anne Mercurio
Performance Reviews
Citigroup Theater
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

Freespace Dance - Still Life, On Stage

by Anne Mercurio
June 5, 2009
Citigroup Theater
405 West 55th Street at Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10019
(212) 405-9000
Freespace Dance
Donna Scro, Artistic Director
Music is gentle, a group of dancers are still, and Donna Scro is the first to move. She has always been a charming dancer to watch, and this opening moment is no different.

The piece itself reads as a community moving through actions. Using rewinding, repetition and frozen moments, the sense of a village or family strengthens.

The dancers prove quickly that they are agile and full of both lines and strength. Physically difficult partnering happens swiftly and painlessly, with what seems to be no more effort than standing on their own legs, they are flipping one another over-head.

In the first work, Portrait, the shifts are somewhat literal: when a dancer drops another she seems to be racked with guilt, which quickly shifts to anger, and a solo in red lights. Well "solo" is not the right word, since Ms. Scro's character, an omniscient spirit, is part of helping this lovely long dancer through her anger. More than once one realizes that Ms. Scro is partnering and moving the dancers and enhancing what is already full and liquid movement.

Within this first piece, and the other group works, Desire and Butt Rock, the dancers' energies exude caring; enjoying the dance as a group.

The most striking pieces are: Portrait, the first group work; This Moment, a duet for Ms. Scro and accomplished dance partner Peter J. Kalvias; and a solo, The Grid, created by Mr. Brian Sanders, Artistic Director of JUNK and former MOMIX dancer and choreographer.

This Moment is a layered and full duet of a couple unraveling individually, and as a pair. Scro and Kalvias find a powerful balance between raw emotional dance and lithe partnering. Beginning with Scro at the table alone, unfolding into moments full of love, pain and a memorable image of a man in the fetal position under a table….we know that this is the kind of pain we try to forget. Scro and Kalvias let us in for This Moment.

Grid, created by the same man who built shoes that throw fire and a hammock that can be strung over the Joyce Theatre stage, is literally a grid, of metal. Seems painful? I imagine it is. However, Scro's grace and strength with the object as it spins three or four feet off the floor is exhilarating. She has chalked her hands to stay safe and avoid slipping, and though she admits the difficulty of the rehearsals in her program notes, she has control of every moment, control so freeing that she seems to float. One second she is a sinewy powerhouse, the next a floating ethereal Buddha-like creature.

With beautiful dancers and a definitive performance sense, I look forward to seeing the works that continue to be born from Freespace Dance.
Freespace Dance Portrait

Freespace Dance

Photo © & courtesy of Julieta Cervantes

Freespace Dance The Grid

Freespace Dance
The Grid

Photo © & courtesy of Julieta Cervantes

Freespace Dance This Moment

Freespace Dance
This Moment

Photo © & courtesy of Julieta Cervantes

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