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The Blind Man and The Elephant | Randy James’ 10 Hairy Legs APAP Showing….

January 21, 2014
10 Hairy Legs’ Kyle Marshall in Claire Porter’s “Piano”. Photo: Steven Trumon Gray”

10 Hairy Legs’ Kyle Marshall in Claire Porter’s “Piano”. Photo: Steven Trumon Gray”

Randy James’ all male dance company, 10 Hairy Legs, invited me to their APAP showing for a glimpse in what the company is currently working on. Presented were three works, Claire Porter’s Piano, The Blind Man and The Elephant, choreographed by Julie Bour and seven minutes of a new Untitled/In Progress piece by Doug Elkins.

Julie Bour’s The Blind Man and The Elephant is a work of great athleticism. There is something pedestrian about the movement, it is not complicated but its strength is in the structure and phrasing of the work. Ms. Bour’s use of abstraction as tool is seen in the many ways in which she presents the body in space.

The work consists of three overlapping solos for Alex Biegelson, Scott Schneider and Tyner Dumortier with Robert Burke appearing in arranged intervals. Mr. Burke is of smaller stature than any of the other three men allowing for a reference or nod to a psychological shadow, a consciousness that comes and goes. He is like a mirror of a memory retained.

Kyle Olson’s score is intense, pulsating and slightly industrial with the harmonic sounds of an orchestra cutting in and out. Randy James stated that a live violinist, Gillian Rivers, will be on stage and interwoven into the dance.

On one point the work assumes a confrontational tones as Mr. Biegelson, Mr. Schneilder and Mr. Dumortier come together. They pick up and swing each other in a manner that is abrupt and forceful with Mr. Burke eventually joining them. He is the tossed and handled in the same confrontational tone but by all three men.

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Julie Bour’s The Blind Man and The Elephant is a strong statement, a study of the workings of the male condition but seen from a woman’s perspective. Ms. Bour strips away the extraneous and lays bare a certain emotional truth that is raw and at times uncomfortable. I look forward to seeing the work on stage….

Claire Porter’s brilliance as both an artist and a choreographer is her ability to deconstruct and then reconstruct elements of daily life and its experiences.  She allows us the opportunity to see the humor in the most complicated of circumstances and Ms. Porter’s Piano is no exception. Ms. Porter has created a situation in which a renowned classical pianist dressed in tuxedo and tails is ready to take the stage to reveal all of his brilliance to a gathered audience, but there is one small problem…when the concert starts the piano has yet to be delivered to the auditorium. The only thing on stage is the piano bench.

Kyle Marshall wittily portrays the pianist with a combination of bravura and hint of frayed nerves. Mr. Marshall quickly establishes that the pianist considers himself extremely talented and therefore should be allowed a few eccentricities, kissing the tips of his fingers before he plays, his elaborate mannerism and flowery bows. It’s a fun work that Mr. Marshall does full justice…

For me Doug Elkins  brings to mind the immortal words of Winston Churchill, “a bit of a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”…for I have found that I never know what I am going to get from Mr. Elkins and that is what makes his work so delicious.

The seven minutes witnessed of Doug Elkins’ Untitled/In Process was of a raw and athletic piece that is fresh in that it does not confirm to a set definition of what is allowable in the approach to the body and movement. It is a work for five men to the music of Pakistani musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn, a noted singer of Qawwali, the devotional music of the Sufis. Mr. Elkins described Mr. Kahn’s unique sound as “a sort of Sufism R & B.”


Mr. Elkins does not so much as deconstruct technique but rather he just that throws the rules and fundamentals of technique out the window. In this piece he incorporates floreos (small, expressing hand movements used in Spanish dancing), floor work, Capoeira and Salsa. His approach to movement is to discover the most efficient way to move the body through space in order to achieve his vision. I am looking forward to the finished work……….

Randy James’ all male dance company, 10 Hairy Legs, will debut these new works at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s Victoria Theater on Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 8:00 pm as part of its Jersey Moves! Dance Festival.

Other Performances…

May 4, 2014 – 3:00 pm

The Crossroads Theatre
7 Livingston Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Tickets & Info

June 26 – 29, 2014
Thus/Fri/Sat -7:30 pm.& Sun.-2:00 pm.

New York Live Arts

219 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011
(212) 691-6500

Tickets & Info


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