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Joanna G. Harris
Music and Dance Reviews
Performance Reviews
ODC Theater
United States
San Francisco Bay Area
San Francisco, CA

Amy Seiwert's IMAGRY Sketch 4: Music Mirror Elicits Mixed Reflections

by Joanna G. Harris
July 24, 2014
ODC Theater
3153 17th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9834
Joanna G. Harris
Author, Beyond Isadora: Bay Area Dancing, 1916-1965. Regent Press, Berkeley, CA, 2009. Contributor to reviews on culturevulture.net
For the four evenings of collaboration between choreographer Amy Seiwert and guest choreographer Adam Hougland July 24-27 at San Francisco's ODC theater, Seiwert commissioned a six-movement suite for cello and piano from composer Kevin Keller.

The music score was played twice: once for Hougland's "Beautiful Decay" and then for Seiwart's "Don't You Remember?" Seiwert's work demonstrated the company's expressive ability within technique, Hougland seemed to emphasize technical skill. Both choreographers made extensive use of gymnastic duets, which for this viewer limited the quality of dancing.

Let me explain. Today's ballet no longer employs the "romantic" pas de duex as in standards such as "Swan Lake." Instead the emphasis is on run-and-catch holds, stretches, lifts, twists and falls. The man and woman are involved in these extremes. The events are often beautiful, but to me, completely unexpressive except for the wow effect – the accomplishment itself. Such feats must be fun to do; they are executed very often.

Seiwert brings more expression to the movement, especially when done by dancers Brandon (Private) Freeman, Rachel Furst, Annali Rose and Katherine Wells. She also brings gesture, space and tension to play to add to the theme of "Don't You Remember?" Dancers perform solos, in groups of three as well as duets. Her choreography "rode" the music, that is to say it did not respond to the notes per se. All this provided a lyricism and drama which was most welcome. The classic costuming by Christine Dench also added to the dramatic quality of the ballet.

Hoagland's "Beautiful Decay"capitalized on the gymnastic duets; they were breath taking accomplishments. But, they were repeated too often and in more and more complex ways so that lyric elements were weakened. The work was most communicative when all eight dancers worked together giving us an excellent group power beyond the technical display.

Artists who participated in the event were: Dancers Freeman, Furst, James Gilmer, Sarah Griffin, Weston Krukow, Rose, Wells and Ben Needham-Wood. All were very skilled, elegant and enthusiastic!
On stage musicians: Robert Howard, cello and Keisuke Nakagoshi, piano. Bravo!
Lighting was by Jim French and Costumes by Dench. Well done.
Dancers rehearse at ODC Theater for 'Sketch 4'.

Dancers rehearse at ODC Theater for "Sketch 4".

Photo © & courtesy of Scot Goodman

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