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George Jackson Review of Sokolow Performance in July 2014

Difficult Pairings

by George Jackson
copyright 2014 by George Jackson

FridaCircle400x266The consolation, the culmination that two people can find when they come together is often the topic of dance works. Anna Sokolow’s individuals, though, never have it easy. They always seem unsatisfied and appear to be seeking something more than one another. Whether the dance is serious portraiture as in “Frida” (1997), rumination as in “September Sonnet” (1995) or ironic humor as in “Magritte Magritte” (1970)”, there is no final resolution of tensions, urges, quests for the expressive Sokolow (1910 – 2000). Thanks to Lorry May’s staging and the Dakshina company’s astute casting, the imprints of Sokolow’s diverse figures continued to linger long after Dance Place’s new doors had closed for the night.

In the two late works, shape is crucial. The steps may have a folk dance pulse but Sokolow kneads the bodies for line, gum, gravity and infinity. The compact Melissa Greco Liu and tall Daniel Phoenix Singh were the principal pair in both pieces. She knew how to sink into herself ever so thoroughly, like fine cloth infolding seamlessly. He is able to torque his line so that one senses the horizon for which Sokolow’s restless search aims without loosing sight of the malleable flesh from whence it came.

In the earlier “Magritte Magritte”, the dynamics are very varied. There is both speeding and stasis, and some bravura steps are scattered about. Helen Marie Carruthers’ deployment of high heeled ballroom shoes in The Lovers section was as etched as any passage of point work. JP Flores was striking as he turned himself on and off as The Reckless Sleeper. Scott Parkinson, Brook Urquhart, Stacey Claytor and Singh contributed.

Apparent throughout the program were the apt colors and adept cuts of Judy Hansen’s costumes. Subsurface, as it ought to be, was the rehearsal work of Karen Bernstein, Harrier Moncure Fellows and Pamela Matthews. Next, how about Lorry May staging some early Sokolow?