‘Seed’, at the Dougherty Dance Theatre on the U.O. Campus featured new works by the TRANSform, a collective of dance artists who are all graduates of the U.O. Dance Dept.’s M.F.A. program:
Carrie Goodnight’s “It’s Quite Simple” developed the intricate physicality of parenting, exploring the monotony of quieting an infant, with humor and emotion. Goodnight’s use of space, her relationships among the dancers, the varying speed and rhythm, as well as a keen employment of focus, likely evoked memory for any parent. Goodnight’s soundscore supported the dance, adding balance and counterpoint, as the dancers seemed to coalesce into knowing, only to unravel again into the chaos that continual sleep-deprivation can bestow.
Val Ifill and Eric Mullis’s “Capillary Power” also used spoken word overlaying the dance, as well as video projection. This piece pulled and tugged through the space, slowly, almost alien at first, like wading underwater. The words we were hearing carried quite a lot of strength and conviction, something I wanted to see more of in the accompanying movement. I wanted to see the piece take flight – to build dynamically, but the work stayed rooted in a somewhat self-aware vernacular, suggestive, but not forceful. Maybe that was the intention.
Marcie Mamura’s and Erinn Ernst’s “Parallels” explored shape and patterns in a trio that seemed to glissade through iconic movement, like the “strong arms” a body builder might make, a hip shimmy, a burlesque pose. The strongest moment was the last, as dancers punched through the 4th wall and stepped so far downstage they were practically touching the front row of the audience. This piece had some great ideas nestled within it, but seemed underdeveloped.
A.T. Moffett’s “Wire/Less: Form, Figure, Movement” played with technology, literally, as the stage was strewn with, and dancers wore and moved with discarded wires. The piece was most successful when dancers explored a kind of synaptic, almost inhuman quick, sharp, almost robotic movement, gesturing swiftly with arms and faces. Still, with the introduction of any prop, the use of it needs to be edited to ensure that its use is adding to the work, not distracting from it.
Alexandra Taylor’s “Enclosed” cut the space into two bisected paths, each redolent with one super-charged mover. This duet grew organically, exploring levels and relationship, to self, to the other dancers, and to the audience.
Gina Bolles Sorensen and Kyle Sorensen’s “quietly quickly” danced by the TRANSForm Collective members, rounded out the evening, with a fast-paced piece that slipped between hurtling duets and confident group unison.