A woman charges across a blank stage, sliding onto the ground like a child playing in slippery socks on a hardwood floor. Another woman enters, repeating the same sequence, and another, until there are five women running and gliding to the floor. Despite the exhausting and monotonous task, the dancers persist with grace. As if an unknown force beckons them they begin dancing together as a unit. Like an interconnected machine, duets and trios whirl around each other in constant movement. Returning to a cluster with their hands holding an invisible object, they pulse, shake, and move in so many different ways that even at the most quiet moments there is motion–constantly in vibration. Ethan Rome’s Antithetical Duality, which investigates states of matter, was part of Forthun+Rome’s Interconnected show performed at Yaw Theater last weekend. This production marks the end of an era for Forthun and Rome, who will no longer be producing work together, but at least they left us with one last beautiful evening of artistry.
CarliAnn Forthun Bruner’s contribution was three emotionally charged duets choreographed in collaboration with the cast. Each duet explores how our selves connect to the outside world. The first, between Alexandra Sipe and Samantha Weissbach Williams, Interaction with confidant shows us what happens when someone in any type of relationship uses you as their support. The pair barely leaves contact for the entirety of the piece as they use each other to lean on and glide through their interconnected movements. Their loving give and take relationship is an inspiration to support our loved ones in the same way that we are supported by them.
Interactions with the external world, danced by Devin Munoz and Valerie Grabill, brought a sense of rivalry and competition. As they push each other down and recover again and again, it becomes almost comical as it’s clear neither of them are going to give up, their attitudes reminiscent of high school mean girls. Despite an intense ferocity in their expression and emotion, Munoz and Grabill’s duet is as connected and partner driven as the first. Graceful and fluid, even as they manipulate one another aggressively. True to the title, this duet captures the sense of a tumultuous world, eager to knock you down.
The final duet, Interactions with Self, is danced by Kate O’Day and Melissa Krienke. A striking and emotional piece, the couple mirrors each other’s gestural movements and interacts with each other mostly from afar. In the beginning they carefully rub their own bodies facing away from each other, as if in their own homes taking a shower. The distance between them is a nice contrast to their mirrored movement, suggesting that these two people are actually the same person reflecting on themselves. As their movements start to differ, their emotional dynamic shifts. Krienke’s despair in the end of the piece is the only thing that lets us in on the difference between the two dancers, perhaps symbolizing the half of our self that watches on helplessly as the other half suffers.
The show concluded with a collaborative dance film, A Midwinter Days Dream, which was a playful comedy centered on the idea of a snowball fight. Using popular vernacular dance moves, they create a comedic rivalry while playing in the snow. Cutting between scenes of dancing in the snow, running through the snow, and slow motion snowball fighting, this film was the perfect lighthearted ending to an otherwise serious show. –Cassianna Diaz
Forthun+Rome’s Interconnected was performed at Yaw theater on May 4th, 2018 at 7 pm and May 5th at 2pm and 7pm. https://www.forthunromedance.org.