The Exhibit | Eryc Taylor Dance at the Alchemical Theater Laboratory, Oct. 15-18, 2015….
I was not aware of the work of Eryc Taylor or of his company Eryc Taylor Dance until I was invited for a showing of his new work in progress, The Exhibit, at the Alchemical Theater Laboratory on W. 14th Street . The piece was a narrative told in five short dances, The Zone (Prelude), Lumen, The Time, The Box and The Hunt.
The piece was performed in very interment White Box, which I am new to and it took some getting used to. The problem with a White Box is that it reduces shadow and colors tend to be lighter.
The first piece, The Zone began as one by one four dancers entered thought doors onto the stage area, we the audience are setting just feet from the dancers which leant the work an air immediate intimacy.
The dancers incorporated the doors and the walls of the space into the performance. The dancers wore black briefs with the women in black tops; each with a black mask that added a sense of high drama.
Mr. Taylor’s approach to the body in space is with wide encompassing movements, a leg full extended or an arm reaching outward. He manipulates the dancer’s torso, contracting and elongating their spines, pulling it tight and then like a spring lets it release outward.
There was not a lot of travel in this work and this was probably limited to the size of the stage. When a dancer would perform a choreographic phrase the dancer’s body would be in full use but the phrases would be forced to occur in small areas of space. What movement occurred was usually in groupings or dancers stepping forward for solos or duets.
What was interesting in these stationary phrases was the way the torso would contract, especially the upper torso, ribs folding in with shoulders following and accentuated by a rippling of the spine. The outer body seeming to protect the vulnerable core of each dancer’s being.
With quick flashes our retinas glimpsed sculptural imagery reminiscent of a Rodin or a Camille Claudel. But as suddenly as these images appeared they were erased with sudden body jerks, tremors of frantic movement, as if Mr. Taylor had used an Etch-A-Sketch and created something of profound beauty then shook it to erase all evidence of it existence, forever denying us its beauty.
Caroline Brethenoux and Samuel Asher Kunzman performed Lumen, an emotionally beautiful duet set to the music of Freida Alban. The chemistry between these two dancers was undeniable. Each supported and flowed in and around one another. It was an all too brief moment of intensity that I greatly enjoyed…I am richer for having seen these two perform.
Now with that said this production was not without its problems. The work seemed more of a series of movement studies than a finished piece. From my point of view that is a good thing for it allows Mr. Taylor room to experiment and to allow the piece to grow organically.
Disappointedly I found the score lacking. I found the supposed five separate pieces of music much too similar in style. All five pieces possessed the same rhythms or predictability to the sound as well similar instrumentation. There was no adagio to allow Mr. Taylor to truly play with his shapes and placement within a duet, nothing saccadic to entice and draw the audience in.
I would like to see Mr. Taylor be a bit more adventurous with his choreographic choices…as as in how he uses the body in space…encourage him to explore and experiment…
It is evident he has the talent and the vision but I just would like to see him push himself a little farther. I am in no way implying that he is playing it too safe but he is a young choreographer and this is the time to really push the envelope, stretch the imagination, to jump from the frying pan into the fire….