Joyce Theater Presents INTRODANS Review — Atomic Energy in Angles

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As the ensemble melds into a caterpillar form, the dancers’ arms outstretch in varied angles reminding of the way you see ancient Indian sculptors’ multi-armed equivalent of animation. They are not the distinct five members of the Introdans ensemble performing this opening work of the evening’titled Energy.  They are now one.

They sit below a black rectangle framed in red, that lighting makes smoke brighter or softer. This, we learn from the program, is artist Anish Kapoor’s depiction of creation/destruction, where all starts or ends, the place where all powerful Shiva dwells.  Visually, you too might think that Kapoor is channeling Mark Rothko to great effect. The visual backdrop is equal partner to the choreography.  

This ensemble moment comes near the conclusion of this 25 minute piece, Kaash. Black clad dancers have either been statue still or rapidly crossing the stage as their arms and legs angle. Their fingers angle too. Their wrists are often bent, speaking to us in traditional Indian Pathak dancing poses.  To say that the dancers are flawless is not adequate.  We sense that every cell of their bodies has been trained to not dally but rather hit the specific angle and choreography scripted placement.  This choreography, like the music, moves like a bullet train.  The vocal gymnastics crescendo and accelerate to a point where we begin to wonder if we are hearing an AI innovation rather than human singers.(Music: Nitin Sawhney, John Oswald Spectre performed by Kronos Quartet).  

The Joyce Theater Night of ENERGY

As if in conversation from Hindi to English, the evening continues after a pause with a nine minute rendition of Concerto choreographed by Lucinda Childs.  Minus the trademark hand gestures, it is as if Childs is singing from  the same Google translated hymnal.  Here though, the subtlety comes in small footwork that shifts the dancers’ weight, reminding of how Childs once danced with Merce Cunningham. 

Like Kaash the background lighting morphing from yellow to gold to pinkish and beyond (Lighting Design: Dominique Drillot) grabs attention at times as the black clad dancers slice the stage into geometric patterns. Background becomes foreground and vice versa.  

After the intermission, Italian choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti joins the visual conversation on angles moving at high speeds.  His offering is far less cerebral, however. It’s raw garlic and bright pickled giardiniera.  We are in an Italian village where cliques are celebrating life, in one or more variations of whole body high fives.  It begins with singing and ends with clowning.  How can we not love the women dancers flexing their feet as they are moved like rag dolls to the sounds of crying infants.  

It’s almost a street brawl between the sexes at times—good nature infused.  Bravado spirits abound — as if high energy has left Act I’d world of abstract geometry and art to become the boy or girl next door.  

BRAVO!  Fast moving from beginning to end, The Joyce Theater yet again gives us another primer on the possibilities of dance.


For more information on remaining performances  in this current season and next year’s season, visit The Joyce Theater website.


Photos by Hans Gerritsen, courtesy of Introdans and The Joyce Theater

Amy Munice

About the Author: Amy Munice

Amy Munice is Editor-in-Chief and Co-Publisher of Picture This Post. She covers books, dance, film, theater, music, museums and travel. Prior to founding Picture This Post, Amy was a freelance writer and global PR specialist for decades—writing and ghostwriting thousands of articles and promotional communications on a wide range of technical and not-so-technical topics.


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