Z Space, San Francisco
November 20th, 2014
Post:Ballet’s “Hi-5” program, running this weekend at Z Space in San Francisco’s Mission District, is all about newness. New dance, new casting, new accompaniment, new collaboration and most notably, the company’s first ever evening-length fall concert. In just five short years, Artistic Director Robert Dekkers, the performing artists, and the entire Post:Ballet family have built an arts institution that was so needed in today’s contemporary landscape – one that holds onto technical excellence while being unafraid of risk. The results have turned each Post:Ballet production into an anticipated event, and have endeared the company to dance aficionados and newcomers alike.
For this debut fall engagement, Dekkers arranged the “Hi-5” program from the oldest work (his first for Post:Ballet) to the new world premiere. 2010’s “Flutter” is one of my favorite pieces; not just from this troupe’s repertory, but overall. I never tire of it and each viewing has the power to surprise. Opening night’s performance was no exception with Jeremy Bannon-Neches, Christian Squires and Vanessa Thiessen taking on the dynamic trio (of this group, I’d only seen Squires dance “Flutter” before). And, for the first time ever, the accompaniment was performed live by The Living Earth Show. “Flutter” is such a contemporary work, yet at the same time, its structural design and construction speak from history. The three dancers are in constant motion, moving both independently and interdependently, like a three-part invention. Within the unison and canoned sequences, unexpected and gorgeous deceptive cadences abound. And if you look closely, you will see some genius fugal patterns in Dekkers’ choreography including instances of augmentation, diminution and inversion.
Up next was 2011’s “Sixes and Seven”, a delicate, specific solo full of intricacies. Again having seen this piece before, I was struck by how new casting has the capacity to change a work, not only providing an opportunity to see company artists in different roles, but also revealing new aspects of choreography. Tetyana Martyanova brought a fresh articulation and intonation to “Sixes and Seven”. As she approached each step, whether large or small, her attack was strong, yet elegant.
The physically stark “Yours is Mine” is not brand new – Dekkers choreographed it this
summer for Atlanta
Ballet and it was also featured earlier this week in DanceFAR’s benefit gala.
But for much of the San Francisco audience, “Yours is Mine” was a new
experience. It begins with a competitive, animalistic trio (Bannon-Neches,
Squires and Aidan DeYoung) who, when faced with a change in their environment,
react combatively to that altered circumstance. Acrobatics and martial arts
inform the choreography and blend seamlessly with the contemporary (and even
some traditional) physical vocab. Just over half way through, Raychel Diane
Weiner enters the picture and at once, everything changes, drastically and
dramatically. Her hypnotic energy places the men into a trance-like state; like
she was casting a spell on them with her presence and with her movement.
|Pictured: Raychel Diane Weiner|
with Jeremy Bannon-Neches, Aidan DeYoung
and Christian Squires in "Yours is Mine"
Photo: Natalia Perez
Closing the “Hi-5” program was the world premiere of “Do Be: Tassel”, the first installment of a yearlong collaboration between Post:Ballet and The Living Earth Show. This piece is theatrical, unexpected and incredibly post-modern. One of the primary tenets driving the post-modern genre (in dance, at least) is how the line between life and art is porous and blurry. “Do Be: Tassel” aptly captures this sentiment. The stage is transformed into a living/dining room scene and the cast begins the piece posed amongst that set. A movement phrase of different postures evolves, which is communicated in several forms - sometimes the cast is in unison; sometimes dancers only do half of the sequence before moving on; or occasionally someone joins in part-way through. And while dancing, the ensemble is also in the process of taking off their costumes, and so, “Do Be: Tassel” unfolds in various states of dress and undress. Towards the end, the cast furiously throws clothing out of suitcases and chooses new items to wear. This disorganized moment is both delicious and poignant because process is messy. The space between life and art is not neat and tidy; it isn’t tied up in a perfect package. “Do Be: Tassel” breaks facades, digs beneath the surface and is committed to sparking a conversation about this reality.
|Post:Ballet in "Do Be: Tassel"|
Photo: Tricia Cronin