Reviewed by Christopher Atamian, SLSG Experimental Dance Critic
I recently caught ZviDance’s charming if somewhat superficial “Zoom” at DTW. I was particularly interested in seeing this performance as I had written a very positive preview of the company and its DTW run in the Jewish Daily Forward (www.forward.com/authors/christopher-atamian/). Israeli choreographer Zvi Gotheiner has been a presence on the New York scene for over twenty years now and he continues to develop interesting, intellectually engaging performances.
Overall, I wasn’t disappointed though I can’t say that the choreography presented anything revolutionary or distinctive. It was all fun and jazzy and engaging—a light, perfectly enjoyable night of dance. My colleague Gia Kourlas at The New York Times compared some of the dancing to the old PBS children’s series of the same title “Zoom” (remember they spoke ubbaduhbah language and wore fabulous striped tops à la Agnès B?)…Kourlas may have been slightly unfair in juxtaposing the two, but I see her point—through much of the performance, you felt as if you were watching sketches for a deeper, more mature presentation.
As a meditation on technological change, the internet and cell phones, “Zoom” hints at many interesting directions: how does technology mediate the human touch and body? What happens to our notions of intimacy and the way we perceive time in an age of supposedly instantaneous connectivity?
After a few introductory group pieces and solos, one of the Zvi dancers sat on stage with a laptop and communicated with the audience, whose members sent in text messages from their blackberries etc…The messages appeared on a large white screen on stage. Predictably—and unfortunately—they alternated between humor (“Do the kicky thing again” or “Can you do the worm?”), to sexual encomia (“You are hot!”) and repeated fart references by one audience member. The performance then lost me a bit when audience members were invited on stage, LOL, OMG I just couldn’t follow.
Tal Yarden’s videos, which were also projected onscreen, were lovely eerie transformations of low-resolution images, also e-mailed by audience members. The most affecting part of “Zoom” came at the very end of the performance—the dancers had already moved off stage and a series of new messages appeared onscreen: “Guess I missed you…” “Talk to you soon.” The real message, and one that I think warrants further investigation, is perhaps the growing alienation that technology has foisted on society. Information isn’t synonymous with knowledge and it certainly doesn’t always translate into wisdom. Perhaps in a future incarnation of “Zoom,” Gotheiner will give the latter some more thought.