Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, San Francisco
March 22nd, 2015
ODC/Dance marked its 44th home season with the annual yearly program at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, ODC/Dance Downtown. Weekend one welcomed the return of last year’s boulders and bones, choreography by Brenda Way and KT Nelson, while the second weekend brought a set of world premieres – Nelson’s Dead Reckoning and another Way/Nelson collaborative project, The Invention of Wings.
The curtain rose on Dead Reckoning to immediately erupting action, like the start of a race. Dancers turned, jumped and dived around the stage in a swirl of movement, resembling fireworks. Legs kicked outward and arms pushed through space; Nelson’s choreographic vocabulary an unexpected combination of punchy and sculptural. Dead Reckoning reads as an A-B-A structure, with a fast, slow, fast section breakdown. Throughout each of these chapters, the motion was continuous; every instant feeding seamlessly into the next. By avoiding stops and starts, Nelson connected the dance’s sub-sections and kept the forward motion going. While that connectedness and continuity was a great achievement in Dead Reckoning, the middle section (the slow one) had its challenges. The movement intention definitely carried through and it had some beautiful solos (particularly by Jeremy Smith, Josie G. Sadan and Katherine Wells) but the functionality and purpose of this lengthy meditation was unclear. In the last movement of Dead Reckoning, we were treated to a pas de deux, danced by Natasha Adorlee Johnson and Joseph Hernandez, one of ODC’s most exciting pairings. Their pas de deux was brief, but these two dancers are simply electric when they are on stage together. Design-wise, lime green ‘snow’ (concept by ODC company dancer Yayoi Kambara) was utilized during the whole dance – falling from the rafters and from the hands of the dancers. By the end of Dead Reckoning, the stage was bathed in this snow, reminiscent of Pina Bausch’s Carnations.
|Pictured: Corey Brady and Natasha Adorlee Johnson|
Photo: RJ Muna