Dance Review

An international dance pairing


These days, there is as much a global arts scene as a global economy.

Terry Fox, executive director of Philadelphia Dance Projects, curates programs that partner Philadelphia dance groups with others from across the country. On Thursday night at the Performance Garage, she made her first international match: Nora Gibson's Temporal Objects and, from Ireland, John Scott's Body Duet.

The two works looked and sounded out of sync. Yet among the common denominators were devotion to technique, razor-sharp dancing, and a laserlike vision of each work's arc.

Gibson, who founded the Nora Gibson Performance Project here in 2009, is a serious choreographer who braces her works with the formalism of her ballet training, then isolates those movement phrases into still frames. For Temporal Objects, she and four other women often stood off to the side posed in first position, while one or more of them pivoted in sheer, floor-length black skirts and soft ballet slippers.

Jessica Warchal-King was the principal cog in the Gibson machine as it instantaneously changed directions. Erin Gallagher, Melissa McCarten, and Meredith Stapleton wheeled around with the intensity the piece demanded. Gibson, a small dynamo, was most fascinating to watch. Chin tucked slightly into her chest, perfect port-de-bras, she moved through Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 14 as if trying to erase every other beat. Lighting designer Clifford Greer emphasized this impression with 14 LED floodlights computerized to stutter on and off seemingly at her will.

Brooklyn-based Michelle Boulé and Dublin's Philip Connaughton turned in a tour-de-fierce performance of Scott's Body Duet, externalizing interior emotions after sexual betrayal - beginning with silent contact-improv that looked like hand-to-hand combat, and moving through synchronized side-by-side sections.

They announced hand gestures, used text to illustrate movement, traded syllables they read from text on an iPad, body-slammed, roughly flipped into each other's arms, screamed, and literally blew each other away.

By the end, the score by Blackfish (James Everest and Joel Pickard, a Minneapolis/Dublin collaboration) took on a chantlike quality as Boulé and Connaughton tenderly carried each other in awkward positions. It felt like the holiness of love and forgiveness.

We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Load comments
Continue Reading