Amy Seiwert: “Sketch 12”

Cowell Theater, Fort Mason: San Francisco
July 16, 2022 7:30 PM

Three works were presented in the “Imagery” evening,

First was Seiwert’s “Tides” with music by Ezio Boss. Seiwert’s notes tell us “..after 12 years of experimenting, the unexpected can still happen.” Yet the work was familiar: eight dancers, four women and four men in various groupings and duets. The center image was that of a woman being lifted by the group. Such lifts and many entrances and exits, as often seen in ballet works, continued throughout “Tides”. Perhaps that was the sustaining idea; the continual flow of movement.

Natasha Adorlee’s “Liminal Space” (in collaboration with the dancers) to a mix of music by Vivaldi, evoked Adorlee’s “most impactful moment of my life, …the loss of my father.” The work is very emotionally moving, combining a wide range of dance locomotion and many small intimate moments of touch. To a text by the choreographer, the dancers respond: touching face, limbs and one another in what she says is ”a love letter to embracing and fitting for each moment of being alive.” The work holds together with those sections.

Last on the program was Joshua L. Peugh’s “Kink” to music by Orville Peck. Peugh quotes Stephen King’s “On Writing”: “Don’t bother to read between the lines, and don’t look for a through-line. There are no lines-only snapshots, most out of focus.” The dancers share intimate moments of touching, reaching, holding and lifting. It is primarily a dance for the men in the company. The women are background.

Two dancers are outstanding, although all are competent and highly skilled. Anthony Cannarella has an unusual ability to bring lyricism and accuracy to all his performs. His focus and animation draws attention. Fortunately he danced several solos and duets.

Isaac Bates-Vinueza is also an outstanding dancer. Other in the company are: Brandon Alexander, Matisse D’Aloisio, Joseph A. Hernandez, Jenna Marie, Kelsey McFalls and Isabella Velasquez. All are exciting to watch.

Costumes are by Susan Roemer: Lighting by Brian Jones. Films by Ben Estabrook.

Missing from the credits is the wonderful woman, Pilar Marsh who did the signing for songs and narration. She is as expressive and dramatic in her communication as any of the dancers and deserves program recognition and a moment to join the company and choreographers in curtain calls. Sitting near her, downstage right and in the house, Marsh was a joy to watch.

Three notes:

  1. Choreography: Dance has changed in the last half-century that I’ve watched. Choreography, perhaps because it followed music, was thematically organized. Groups were organized to follow a rhythmic line and dance in unison. Now, dancers enter and leave the stage alone, or in small groups and interact seemingly randomly. It is challenging to watch, but untrained audiences often cannot follow the design.
  2. Footwear: Seiwert’s women dancers wore toe shoes, yet being ‘on toe’ seemed unimportant (in the classic sense of “petite pas”.) Other dancers wore flat dance shoes. But the ‘new look’ is dance socks, many colors, many styles. The bottom of the socks have tread which allows ‘no slip’ and safe, fast travel. Bare feet, once characteristic of “modern dance” are gone.
  3. Presentation: Each dance was preceded by a short film during which choreographic ideas and work process was explained and presented. For this reviewer, it was unnecessary. Although the choreographers were eager to speak about their work, I believe  (and many agreed) to “let the dances speak for themselves.”