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The Surrealist Mind: Igal Perry & Peridance Contemporary Dance Company’s New York Spring Season…

March 22, 2014
Eoghan Dillon in Igal Perry's “Blue” | photo: Dekel Hamatian

Eoghan Dillon in Igal Perry’s “Blue” | photo: Dekel Hamatian

Igal Perry and the Peridance Contemporary Dance Company presented its New York Spring Season with three World Premiers. All three works, Igal Perry’s Blue, Robyn Mineko Williams’ Saku and Brian Arias’ Theory of Mind  were a venture into the surrealist mind, a place where dreams and reality collide.

Robyn Mineko Williams’ Saku with music by the Lucky Dragons was the first offering for the afternoon. Ms. Williams tended to approach the body in space with tight, contained movement and rippling torsos. Dancers often ran diagonally, on and off the stage, creating a canvas of constant motion. Jerky movements of the body led into limbs being elongated with the dancer then leaping into a like-minded phrase of movement.

Robyn Mineko Williams' “Saku”

Jason Collins & Eila Valis’ in Robyn Mineko Williams’ “Saku” | Karli Cadel Photography

The score by the Lucky Dragons was a bit of a pill to swallow, especially during the first half of the piece. The melody was laced with repetitive machine-gun like rat-tat-tats while the volume grew, then diminished and then grew again. It became irritating quickly… But, oddly the score matched the abstract nature of the work and also mellowed during the second half of the piece.

Questionable, the dancers would walk around in a circle with the inner arm at forty-five degree with the palm down or with sometimes just with one finger, then with two extended as if counting, but counting what and why was not evident.

Joanna DeFelice in Robyn Mineko Williams' “Saku” | photo: Karli Cadel Photography

Joanna DeFelice in Robyn Mineko Williams’ “Saku” | photo: Karli Cadel Photography

Eila Valls’ duet with Jason Collins became a distorted language of longing that was very touching. Mr. Collins has an exciting movement quality and is a young dancer to watch; Ms. Valls is young women with an exception gift and I was disappointed that her talents were not more fully utilized that afternoon. All in all…Robyn Mineko Williams’ Saku was an interesting, but also perplexing work…

Brian Arias’ Theory of Mind was also another interesting but also perplexing work. It was very similar to the first piece, both in feel and the choice of the score used. The score was a compilation of Max Richter, Harold Budd with some Debussy thrown in for good measure; at the beginning we heard a repetitive note over an underlying melody.

Bryan Arias' “Theory of Mind” | Karli Cadel Photography

Bryan Arias’ “Theory of Mind” | Karli Cadel Photography

Dancers ran on and off the stage diagonally, then performing in groups or as duets. The choreography is abstract but still maintains a pedestrian feel. The performers through-out the work maintained a perplexed look on their faces and as to why, well that was never made clear….seems perplexity was to be a recurring theme for the afternoon.

Yesid Lopez is wonderful dancer who has a vast control of his body as well as being emotional expressive. A men’s trio was rather brilliant, tightly choreographed and showing innovation in the use of the body, everything about it was exceptional….

Left to Right: Leigh Lijoi, Craig Dionne, Yesid Lopez, Doug Baum in Igal Perry's “Blue” | Photo: Karli Cadel Photography

Left to Right: Leigh Lijoi, Craig Dionne, Yesid Lopez, Doug Baum in Igal Perry’s “Blue” | Karli Cadel Photography

What I found fascinating is that both Ms. Williams’ Saku and Mr. Arias’ Theory of Mind were so similar, that they could easily be seen as one piece. I had to continually remind myself they were not, which is a shame; for had they been the first and second sections of a combined work… that would have been brilliant! There is a consistent flow of abstract imagery, individually created but by like minds. Without trying you can see a continual thread, a flow of intellect, choreography and vision that could be seamlessly married to create one work. Where both pieces I found lacking something, somewhere…when I visualize them as one work I am astounded by the complexity of the statement made…two sentences that are formed to express a singular thought…

Igal Perry’s new work Blue delved deeper into the surrealist mind. The music was a compilation of Gavin Bryars with selections for La Traviata, Rigoletto and L’Eliser d’ Amore. The piece was a choreographic anthology, a work of stories within stories that when fused together made a unique vision.

Igal Perry's “Blue” \ Karli Cadel Photography

Igal Perry’s “Blue” \ Karli Cadel Photography

Overall the work had complexity and created moments of great imagery. One of the strongest was a short section in which Max Cappelli-King slowly undresses and with each object of clothing removed he bravely revealed a little more of his soul. It was perhaps the strongest performance I have so far witnessed by Mr. Cappelli-King. Bravo Mr. Cappelli-King!

While watching the piece as a whole I was reminded of the work of Fellini, distinct in his blending of fantasy and reality. When I stopped trying to make sense of the work and let the mind’s eye view it unencumbered by association I gained understanding without understanding.

Was Blue as compelling a work as say Mr. Perry’s Conflicted Terrian, it is certainly different in approach and feel. I would like to see Blue again a year from now, when Mr. Perry has fine-tuned the work and it is allowed to mature with repeated performances.

Blue is a walk through the halls of Mr. Perry’s mind. It is a retrospective of past thoughts, experiences and the emotional response(s) to those experiences. Surrealism sought to emancipate the creative potential of the unconscious mind, release the imagery of dreams and reshape our perception of reality. Imagine Mr. Perry’s mind having a show at M.O.M.A and each section in Blue is like a painting on display…each is unique imagery, an abstract idea of reality but from a surrealist perspective.



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