Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Review: topos topio

Lisa Kraus reviews "topos topio," a dance series curated by UArts' Donna Faye Burchfield, who "brings us fresh voices and visions."

Review: topos topio

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By Lisa Kraus

The presence of Donna Faye Burchfield, installed last year as head of the School of Dance at University of the Arts, begins to ripple out into the wider Philly community with her curation of this series of four evenings of interconnected works. Drawing on a wide web of dance contacts from her years at Hollins University, the American Dance Festival and beyond, Burchfield brings us fresh voices and visions.

 The first weekend’s show opens with Adrienne Westwood’s Record, a finely crafted progression of images layering shadow play and live-feed projection to make dancers lying on their sides appear to be "walking" upright, or dollhouse chairs on a turntable appear huge and whorling. Its two couples slip into cyclical phrases like music box figures.

  Of the four works that follow, all share Record’s thoughtfulness and most share its dusky, hushed tone. Several employ a table and chair, hinting at notions of home. Kinetically, Dawn Springer’s quartet, Dreams of Flight, and Maria Urrutia’s solo, In Absence, grow the most surging and lush. Meredith Glisson’s solo, influenced by Lady Anne from Shakespeare’s Richard III, is the most diffuse, with its shreds of repeating text and intimations of distress. Jung-eun Kim echoes Shen Wei in her spatial calligraphies, but also narrows our focus to her simple, questioning presence. She’s Philly-based this year and is an artist to watch.

 Featured in Weekend Two will be other artists-to-watch, including Meg Foley and Faye Driscoll, and, as a special coda on the final night, Bessie-winner Yvonne Meier’s Mad Heidi. All told, topos topio’s a perfect Fringe opportunity to open your eyes to the new.

$10, 8 pm 9/3, 16 and 17. The Drake, 1512 Spruce St. (entrance on Hicks).

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