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The New York Debut of Randy James’ 10 Hairy Legs at New York Live Arts….

June 9, 2013
10 Hairy Legs’ Alex Biegelson in Manuel Vignoulle’s Together We Stand. Photo by Steven Gray

10 Hairy Legs’ Alex Biegelson in Manuel Vignoulle’s Together We Stand. Photo by Steven Gray

Randy James’ all male repertory Dance Company, 10 Hairy Legs had its NYC Debut at the New York Live Arts, May 31 – June 1. The evening started with Tony Bordonaro’s performance of Claire Porter’s Interview and what a start if was. The work began with Mr. Bordonaro in a pool of light, anxiously seated in a chair in proper business suit attire. He glances at his watch, makes it aware that he is on time and the importance of being on time for a job. He starts to state his credentials, C.P.A., M.B.A, C.P.R., P.H.D. and a host of alphabetical abbreviations. Mr. Bordonaro was excellent. His portrayal of young college graduate anxious to join the job market was perfect. As a side note, Ms. Porter is to be congratulated on becoming a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow.

Randy James’ Pillar of Salt I just did not get. The quartet for Tyner Dumortier, Kyle Marshall, Scott Schneider and Nick Sciscione never congealed into a coherent statement. The four men were stunning, clad in very sexy black mesh costumes that left little to the imagination.

The use of the hands slapping together or to slap the body made the work seem dated.  The beauty of Vivaldi was abruptly interrupted by Lady Gaga…Why? The movement choices were predictable and did not really challenge the dancers. Whatever Mr. James intended to state with this work was muddled and confusing to say the least.

10 Hairy Legs’ Nick Sciscione (on floor), Tyner Dumortier & Kyle Marshall (seated) in Randy James’ Pillar of Salt. Photo by Steven Gray

10 Hairy Legs’ Nick Sciscione (on floor), Tyner Dumortier & Kyle Marshall (seated) in Randy James’ Pillar of Salt. Photo by Steven Gray

But the World Premiere of Mr. James’ Rook was a completely different story! A solo for Nick Sciscione to a commissioned score by Robert Maggio and performed live by an onstage chamber group, was simple awesome.

Mr. Sciscione movements ranged from elongated to tight and controlled with his arms wrapped around his body. The work has a sense of confinement, his body often folding in on itself. He kneels to the floor, his hand searching for something that’s never found.

The work displayed moments of great emotion ranging from passion to remorse. At times Mr. Sciscione energies were extroverted and then suddenly he would pull them in tightly to his body as if fearful. Mr. Sciscione used his body to articulate that which could not be expressed in words by a display of raw emotion. It was a heartfelt and intense work that Mr. Sciscione excelled in. Bravo to both Mr. Sciscione and Mr. James for a job very well done.

10 Hairy Legs’ Nick Sciscione in Randy James’ Rook. Photo by Steven Gray

10 Hairy Legs’ Nick Sciscione in Randy James’ Rook. Photo by Steven Gray

David Parker’s Bang, which is the first time the work has ever been performed outside of Mr. Parker’s own company, was a rhythmic duet for two men, Alex Biegelson and Tyner Dumortier. It is a very interesting work which supposedly reflects the two bodies as tap shoes, but it also a tongue in cheek and slightly sarcastic comment on the struggle for dominance in a domestic relationship. Mr. Biegelson would slap the floor, move his body forward in a body-ripple like action only to have Mr. Dumortier do the same but go a little further. Mr. Biegelson would then proceed to repeat the movement and go even further then his partner. This led into one trying to one-up the other in an obvious but still understated manner.

Lying opposite each other but side by side, each lifts a foot and for the other to kiss, but when this is done again Mr. Biegelson turns his nose up at the opportunity to kiss Mr. Dumortier foot. Mr. Dumortier, his foot already in Mr. Biegelson’s face proceeds to slowly point his foot, rolling one toe at a time in a passive-aggressive manner before relenting and bringing his foot down.

It was a great performance and my first exposure to the work of David Parker, also a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow. I am looking forward to witnessing more of Mr. Parker and the Bang Group.

10 Hairy Legs’ (L-R) Cyle Eugene Jackson, Nick Sciscione, Tyner Dumortier, & Alex Biegelson in Manuel Vignoulle’s Together We Stand. Photo by Steven Gray

10 Hairy Legs’ (L-R) Cyle Eugene Jackson, Nick Sciscione, Tyner Dumortier, & Alex Biegelson in Manuel Vignoulle’s Together We Stand. Photo by Steven Gray

Manuel Vignoulle’s Together We Stand, created for the company in 2012, was an energetic and testosterone fueled work for five men, Alex Biegelson, Tyner Dumortier, Cyle Jackson, Kyle Marshall and Carlo Antonio Villanueva. (Mr. Villanueva replaced Nick Sciscione who was injured but was able to dance in all his other pieces.) The work features an original score entitled “Together” by Mr. Vignoulle and “Al Maghfera” by Hugues De Courson with sound designed by Dan Agosto & Johnny Nevin.

Together We Stand explores the camaraderie between those brought together by violence, as well as a study of the manner we as individual relate to one another during crisis. Mr. Vignoulle is also making a strong statement about violence in media and the exposure to the ready availability of violent subject matter.

This is an athletic work; the dancers shake as if overcome by nerves then explode into large jumps of action. Occasionally a dancer will pause, his body propelled backwards as if shot or physical hit then falls to the floor, he then gets up attempting to back away from the violence, but when he turns his is forced to face the violence again.

The dancers flee by somersaulting across the stage on their elbows, facing away from us, they stand and arch their backs, throw out the arms to the side as if hit by a great force that propels them again to their knees.

The movements are comprised of elements of martial arts and capoeira, helping one another as if injured or crawling through trenches. The men sit on each other shoulders, sticking their tongues as in the Haka, the ancestral challenge of the Māori people of New Zealand. It is an exciting and engaging work.

Randy James’ Hairy Legs is a young company of vision and purpose and I look forward to watching it grow….

10 Hairy legs is a repertory company – comprised entirely of men -­- of Randy James’ work as well as existing and new works by today’s most significant choreographers, not meant to reflect a specific point of view about the male experience, but rather to celebrate and explore the tremendous technical and emotional range of today’s male dancer. 10 Hairy Legs seeks to advance the understanding of the male role in dance through the creation, acquisition and performance of exceptional work.

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