Review by Chuck Schultz; illustrations by Yumna Tolaimate
Last month we visited the Performance Garage to see Anne-Marie Mulgrew and Dancers Company present their thirty-third home season concert FROM THE FEMININE GAZE (read the Phindie review). The performance was a more serious turn from last year’s STRANGE DREAMS. ONE MINUTE DANCES or POST STAMP DANCES were entering a concept of time that was completely subjective. The changing phases of an assortment of modern dances captured the mechanical clock all out of whack in the digital era. As we move through space and time in this piece an effective distancing from our common knowledge repositions our center, and we are ungrounded.
Part II of the program FROM THE FEMININE GAZE brings up the issue of women in history and the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment. The cosmological to the sexualization of women in history takes on roles of mother, friend, and partner to draw a constellation of relationships. Starting with ONE MINUTE DANCES, we get a taste of what time and space mean relative to our actions and meanings. These works prepare us for drama and surreal choreography by Anne-Marie Mulgrew. The colors, tone, and intimacy feel like layers of memory that distort and reintroduce a biological, geological, or intuitive clock.
The feminine body framed by the shape of a clock explore portraits of our past, present, and future selves. That is when the next dance, QUIET POWER, implodes the issue of prejudice for the individual exploration of core values. How can we communicate with our bodies when our language is forever sexualized? The power of our language, of our bodies, and our minds takes this performance around the idea of our inner thoughts kept inside our head, our heart attempt to communicate to make emotions and reasons rightly in accordance in a habitual life. The texture of this sleek but aggressive dance vents a certainty that there is something that needs to get out. A body contorted, and tangled with scientific emphasis. The solo dance is like a ticking time bomb, imagine a cold world where our feelings and thoughts have no value.
The pinnacle of the event was a choreography and performance by Anne-Marie Mulgrew called, WHAT. It transcended our expectations, and unveils truth like a caterpillar coming out of a cocoon. It captured the rebirth, awakening from hibernation, and resilience in moving forward.
Moving into the next dance, we faced the fast paced reality of our world in SKIRTING. This final dance reminded us of Ballet X’s Cayetano Soto’s “Napoleon/Napoleon”. The choreography by Mulgrew, formulate a conversation between nation-states and gender identity in a controlled-anarchy. Mulgrew captured the chaos in which we move briskly past one another almost clashing into one another. The track was set for the ensemble to rotate around the stage. This mechanism plays with the idea of dysfunctional bodies moving through space in an aesthetic that evokes intimidation and we felt a counter movement would be like throwing a wrench into its gears to stop it. The silly parade of Soto’s imperial absurdism in FROM THE FEMININE GAZE deems a whole new perspective- a feminine gaze.
[Performance Garage] June 14–15, 2019; annemariemulgrewdancersco.org