Photos by Carol Rosegg of, top to bottom: Pascal Rekoert, Duane Gosa, and Susanna Bozzetti (left) and Maria Cardenas.
Last night my friend Philip invited me to modern dance company Jennifer Muller / The Works‘ opening night of their 35th Anniversary season at the Joyce Theater in Chelsea. On this program, Program A, were three of Muller’s career-spanning dances: Tub, from 1973, Momentum, from 2005, and Bench, a world premiere. My favorite was Tub, by turns beautiful, sexy, beatific, and funny, which was really a celebration of the life-giving, cleansing, community-producing qualities of water. In places it seemed like a cross between Pina Bausch and Larry Keigwin.
I liked the other two as well, particularly Momentum, a fun, rhythmic hip-hop / modern dance combination celebrating city life.
Bench, the new piece, was inspired by Al Gore’s book An Inconvenient Truth and evoked our increasingly destructive tendencies toward the environment. This was the most intense of the dances on Program A, the mood harsh and violent. I think this one was a slight bit one-note and needed a bit of editing (different sections represented each of the seven deadly sins and I didn’t see all that much of a difference between lust, pride, wrath, gluttony, etc.), but what I love about Muller (this is my first time seeing her work) is how she creates such an intense atmosphere onstage. She’ll have many dancers onstage at once, breaking into groups or pairs, each pair or group doing something unrelated to the others. So, you have so much to focus on, so many things going on at once. And the dancers’ movements are rife with meaning — one couple is having a violent fight, another making up, another making love, another about to have a fight, etc. It’s a lot to take in at once, but there’s definitely never a dull moment.
I didn’t mean to write a full review — I received some awful news yesterday, which I’ll write about soon — and I’m still not over it. So, please read Philip’s write-up. The company is at the Joyce through June 14th; go here for details.