DENT-DROP-BEND | dawsondancesf at Baruch Performing Arts Center….
Last year I was invited to the Baruch Performing Arts Center for the New York premiere of Gregory P. Dawson’s Fabricca Matterasso D’argento. I remember then being extremely impressed with how Mr. Dawson challenged the use of the body in space and the athletic grace in which his dancers responded to that challenge.
On Sept. 26, 2015 dawsondancesf returned to the Baruch Performing Arts Center for the unveiling of Gregory P. Dawson’s DENT-DROP-BEND, a triptych that wove dance and visuals into a fresh language of movement.
Even though Mr. Dawson uses the classical vocabulary as the basis for his work he does not allow it to define him. Instead he has rounded, curved, arced, straightened and/or lengthened the very barriers that hinder so many choreographers that come from a balletic background.
In Dent-Drop-Bend you become immediately aware of how Mr. Dawson utilizes the sculptural grace of his dancers. The torso is stretched; the spine is elongated thus allowing the dancers to fully utilize every ounce of kinetic energy.
From the beginning Mr. Dawson plays with the concepts of light and dark. He paints a landscape of shadow. In the dimness we are teased by two men as they move across the back of the stage. These two men push, pull, and encircle their bodies with two circular bands that are attached with small knots of luminance. These circular tubes are in essence the only light on the stage.
As a corner of the stage is encompassed by a soft amber light, the two men have formed into a helix of movement. The lighting is such that Mr. Dawson is allowing the dancers anonymity. He is hiding the individual characteristic of each dancer so the viewer is more attentive to the visceral as opposed to the visual.
Damacio Payomo has created a score that is an incongruous blend of nature, piano, percussion, rushing winds and industrial noise. None of it should work together but work together is does. The score colors the work with a deep undertone of suddenness, of caution, a hint in the serenity of the chaotic found in the divine.
Jordon Drew steps forth; she is en pointe, a tall vengeful angel for the righteous. She is so supple, she does not move in the same manner as we ordinary humans but instead each movement, an elongated leg, an out stretched arm is more akin to a breath, it is effortless, lyrical, magical…
When she is joined by Isiah Bendel time stops, everything becomes focused on this one singular point in space. The music is baroque, a merger of an aria surrounded by the deep resonance of an organ. It is sweeping, it is monumental. Together they become living sculpture. They seldom lose touch of one another and when they do is not for long. Together their energies blend into an emotional statement of solidarity. Their pairing is based on trust and the sacredness of that trust.
Frankie Lee III, Alexander Vargas and William Fowler explode onto the stage with primal emotion and pure energy. The score now has a percussive repetition that seems to command the dancers. It is not music, it is something more primal, the blood coursing through their veins, their heartbeats made visual.
As with the repetitive percussion there is repetition in the choreographic phrasing. The dancers move fast, sharp, angular. Motion is a constant; there is wildness to it, a level of chaos barely controlled.
The sensuality of the three men and their movement is undeniable. Nothing is sexual, nothing overt, but as the dancers continue to move you become aware of a raw passion. You see in them something primordial, something eternal, a reminder that the human condition is transient, a thing ever changing.
Alexander Vargas must be mentioned for his exquisite movement quality. He has a line to his body that most dancers can only dream of. His dancing is instinctual…organic…movement flows though his body in a way that can only be called silky.
Isiah Bindel is perhaps one the most gifted dancers I have seen in many a year. The facility with which he has to work with is as close to perfection for a male dancer as it comes. He is tall and lean with long legs and arms. His torso has an elasticity that is delicious to watch. Every move is guided by his impeccable technique, by his innate sense for movement. I believe there is unique quality in Mr. Bindel that he has not even fully tapped….with in him is an ember that seeks to grow in to a flame….properly nourished this ember can give birth to greatness…
Gregory P. Dawson is an artist to watch! If you have not seen dawsondancssf in performance….I cannot recommend strongly enough that you do so…