“Wing of Egress” Offers Two Distinct Works

Written by Kristen Legg
(Photo: Natascha Greenwalt Murphy and Danny Boulet.
Photo by Ernie Sapiro)
There were ups and downs in Coriolis Dance Collective’s “Wing of Egress,” presented at the Erickson Theater Off-Broadway November 11–12, 2011. The company presented two works in their season opener: Tethered Apparitions and try to hover (or Private Practice #7). While one left the viewer with more questions than answers and the other needed a bit more development, both works highlighted different strengths of this talented group of dancers.
In Natascha Greenwalt Murphy’s Tethered Apparitions, the strength, suppleness, and beauty of the six performers was quite evident. Each muscle and created angle of the body was displayed beautifully in this 25 minute work. With legs that went for miles, gorgeously extended arches, and perfectly placed lines, there was never an ugly moment. The dancers’ beauty was elevated even more by Dave Proscia’s lighting. In a perfect mix of shadow and light, performers Andrea Larreta and Danny Boulet  hovered eerily in a duet, while Marissa Quimby’s solo in a long lace gown appeared antiqued.
(Dancers Marissa Quimby, Andrea Larreta, and
Alana O’Farrell Rogers. Photo by Ernie Sapiro)
The missing element from this dance work was a tangible story or centralized idea. The dancers entered holding beautifully constructed, lantern-like light boxes, which they moved throughout the space during the work. After many angst-filled duets, Quimby’s tortured solo, and contemplative group work, a sudden playful duet between Murphy and Boulet seemed out of place. Another group section featured Larreta and Joel Meyers in an almost aggressive duet, but the piece ended too sharply with Larreta dancing alone at center stage, the others lighting her with their lanterns.
What Tethered Apparitions lacked in direction, it made up for in unique partnering. Murphy’s ability to create winding, surprising, and wonderfully linear lifts is quite inspiring. In one, Boulet gracefully lifted the tall, leggy Murphy from the floor to a perch on his shoulders in less than a secondthe audience sure they just witnessed magic. Another partnering sequence has Larreta in a forced-arch attitude, Myers violently spinning her by the wrist. 
The second work of the evening, Christin Call’s try to hover (or Private Practice #7), depicted the pitfalls in maintaining mental stability and health. In this multi-disciplinary piece Call used spoken word, projected images, well-crafted set design, and pedestrian movement intermixed with her quirky, balletic choreographic style to present a moving and theatrical work. While a bit muddled in the middle, the message presented was clear and well-designed.
The few ruined moments were mostly due to manipulation of a pair of large, sturdy benches and bright, red head elevation pillows. Call often used the choreography to mask changes in the stage layout, but, sadly, this often distracted from the work. For instance, costumed Boulet and Meyers had to carry the benches on before the work began, which took away so much from the beauty and surprise of the opening image—the benches being leaned back, taking Quimby and guest performer Victoria McConnell from standing to lying in a make-shift bed. Later, Meyers removed his hospital gown to dance a raw, emotion-filled solo, only to be upstaged by the shifting of benches and scratching of the pillows being Velcro-ed in place.
(Marissa Quimby and former Coriolis dancer Sylvain Boulet
Photo by Ernie Sapiro)
Here, again, for all the things that didn’t work quite perfectly in try to hover, there was so much that did. Call evoked true emotion from her performers. Images such as: Larreta lining up pill bottles, throwing her body off benches with abandon, and silencing her words by stuffing a pill bottle in her mouth; Quimby’s long spine contorting and bending in ways so powerful and twisted, one can only feel pain and confusion in watching her; Boulet’s final walk along the benches into a bright unknown, never looking back, yet still visibly unsure of what’s to come. 
What is so fantastic about Coriolis Dance Collective is their ability to constantly change. Each performance is a new experience, each work they present a landmark in their development as artists, performers, and as a group.

One comment

  1. Strangely, it never occurred to me that Tethered Apparitions “lacked direction” or was missing a “tangible story or centralized idea.” I saw it as simply an abstract ballet that happened to have ornamented costumes and a few simple props (the light boxes). The varying moods in the piece seemed to me to grow organically out of the dancers’ responses to the abstract choreography. But if a tangible story would be helpful, consider this one: The dancers are fairies, living in a forest outside of Athens; the light boxes are their fairy lights. Would a playful duet between Titania and Oberon seem out of place in such a scenario?

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