Photo by Roberto Martinez
Just in time for Spring, dropshift dance returns to Links Hall with “THRIVE,” a one-night event featuring works created using a collaborative process between the choreographers and dancers.
The program begins with Jill Moshman’s work-in-progress, “Every Single Thing,” and “Excerpts from unexplained phenomena” (2022), with dancers Julia Larcenaire, Alynn Parola and Moshman, original sound by Alex Mah.
Upon entering the theater, one notices two dancers casually strolling in large circles around the dance floor. Performed a cappella, the movement quickly heats up, resembling a combination of martial arts and dance. The dueling duo attack the space around each other aggressively while dodging and weaving. Feet are flexed when kicked out. Bodies come to hard stops, almost robotic. Straight razor arms slice quickly. But there is tenderness, too. One breaks away and stands still, loose wrists dripping, hands down like honey from a spoon.
The scenario shifts rapidly: a third enters from the right to join the two fighters and they become friends, reaching out to each other, but missing the connection; then, two lovers embroiled in a respectful spat roll up and over each other as a single voice calls out, “It hurts to say that I want you to stay…Always…Always…” “Every Single Thing” quickly shifts the style of movement and relationships of the dancers, like a book of short stories with passages left blank for the viewer to fill in for themself.
Next, we’re plunged into the horror trope-ridden world of Moshman’s “Excerpts from unexplained phenomena.” An individual in all black tries but fails to resist a slow spin, like a person trapped in a humming, broiling rotisserie. Another figure in black enters, and the two move together like mirror images. Not for long! The image starts to move on its own, leaping into the real world and trading places, a demon transgressing dimensions and possessing another’s body.
A third enters and all seem possessed! Riding upside down bicycles, keeling over in sharp convulsions, glaring into space…. On their backs, heads stay in place while their legs walk around their bodies, like a scene from The Exorcist, Moshman’s “Excerpts from unexplained phenomena” does not shy from the shadows, but plunges in, dragging out those creatures that lurk in darkness.
Cerniglia’s “bloom” is a work in progress that uses themes of perpetual movement and constant creation, with dancers Christina Chammas, Alexandra Claiborne-Naranjo and Cerniglia, original sound by Luke Gullickson and Rashad Hussein, fabrics by Collin Bunting and video by Gary Walker and Andrew Henke.
Three solemn figures sit atop lily pads of round, beige fabrics embroidered with winding patterns and coated in colors of turquoise, emerald and burnt orange. They fold the fabric, then spread and knead it.. One body is covered with all three fabrics, resembling a large lump of clay atop a giant potter’s wheel while two attendant potters move in concentric circles around it. The amorphous lump never stops forming new shapes. The crouched attendants are careful not to let it spill too far in one direction or another. Arms and legs jut out of it, as if to escape, and are quickly covered up by the attendants, now jailors.
The three fabrics draw together towards the center to the sound of rushing water. ;BEGIN NEXT Behind them, a large projection shows a trifold of running rivers, hung and swaying knotted ropes and arid, scaly soil. Like waking from a dream, the dancers return to their starting points as a bright star shines above them against a clear blue sky. Cerniglia’s “bloom” is a metaphor for the one constant in nature, that it is ever changing.
Once again, dropshift dance does a lot with a little, and creates a world that feels larger than their three-dancer format. At times slow and meditative, the work here moves faster than in previous dropshift productions. Fast, slow, it’s all good, and this recent showing whets the appetite for the realization of the completed versions of some of these works in progress.