FALLING INTO HERE or THE IMPORTANCE OF NORMAL (The Naked Stark/ First Person Arts): Dance review

Excerpted from thINKingDANCE.net.

Photo: Kathryn Raines

Photo: Kathryn Raines

Fractured. Awry. Akilter. There is frighteningly little cohesion and order (or shall we call it normalcy?) in the dark visual and kinesthetic world that Katherine Kiefer Stark presents in Falling into Here or The Importance of Normal. The performance is a welcome dance work among the talking heads presentations of the 12th annual First Person Arts Festival, a 10-day affair dedicated mostly to autobiographical narrative expressed through storytelling and song.

In the shifting, dissolving realities of the piece, Stark, as choreographer and director, and through her small group of dancers and musicians, The Naked Stark, leaves it ambiguous as to whether the narrative is a first person account from a family member who suffered from mental illness, or a tale from those who knew her. The audience first views a jumbled set of plywood constructions angled askew, strewn with overturned chairs. Megan Wilson Stern and others arrange themselves within the chairs, then fall asunder, unexpectedly; none sit erect as upright chairs intend. Others lie on the floor amidst the set’s debris, as Eleanor Goudie-Averill obsessively marks and then frolics along a chalk square perimeter she lays down around all…. Read the full review at thINKingDANCE.net.
November 8-9, 2013,  firstpersonarts.orgthenakedstark.com.
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About the author

Jonathan Stein for thINKingDANCE

Stein entered Community Legal Services in 1968 following graduation from Columbia College, University of Pennsylvania Law School, and a year at the London School of Economics and has been an anti-poverty, legal aid lawyer to the present. He is one of the nation’s few exemplars of his generation still actively working as a legal advocate for the poor. Stein was among the first to advance the rights and well-being of broad numbers of low income people by class-action law suits and law reform advocacy, which through US Supreme Court cases and Congressional legislation have had national impact. He has been at the forefront of reform in such areas as Social Security and SSI disability; welfare and Medical Assistance; school lunch and breakfast; rights of disabled and the blind; low income health insurance; childhood lead paint poisoning; utility termination protections; civil rights housing; among others. He has also had a long-standing interest in all the arts, and since the 1970s has been pursuing modern dance and contact improvisation with inspiring teachers including Alice Forner, Madeline Cantor, Susan Deutsch, Leah Stein, Steve Krieckhaus, Eric Schoefer, Karen Carlson, and David Brick. Since beginning performing in 1989, he has appeared in sixteen performances in the works of Asimina Chremos, Stephen Koplowitz, Leah Stein, Megan Mazarick, and in Headlong Dance Theater’s Cell in the 2006 Live Arts Festival, and 2007 International Festival of Arts and Ideas, New Haven, and in Jerome Bel’s The Show Must Go On, Live Arts Festival, 2008, at the Kimmel Center. Since 2008 he has been also writing dance and theater reviews for BroadStreetReview.com, although he got the itch early for writing as Features Editor of the Columbia Daily Spectator in the last days of letterpress (hot metal typesetting) printing.