November 16th, 2009 5:33 pm | by Kate Williams News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP

Live Review: BodyVox's Chronos/Kairos

Tags: Dance, BodyVox
BodyVox's "Bottom of the World" by Blaine Truitt Covert

By means of audience response, BodyVox's current show, Chronos/Kairos was certainly successful. The guests laughed when they were supposed to laugh, gasped when they were supposed to gasp and gave the dancers a standing ovation at the curtain. While it certainly felt warm and fuzzy to sit with such receptive company, the enthusiasm for what turned out to be a lackluster performance got a little old. It only served to codify the distinction between diehard BodyVox fans and everyone else.

Chronos/Kairos was a strikingly accessible show. Yes, some of the pieces, like Urban Meadow, where the dancers dressed like sheep and "baa"ed all over the stage, were a bit strange. Yes, some of the costumes, like Ashley Roland's in Beat, were tight and sheer enough to be nude. But almost every piece had a clear motive and/or narrative running throughout. Any person, of any age, watching Fishers Are Men, for example, would know right from the start that the two goofy men dressed as fishermen would inevitably enact some sort of goofy fishing adventure while onstage. The dancing just filled in the gaps between the predictable opening and closing of each piece. Like a children's television show, it is easy to follow along and feel as though one "gets it," even with no dance background.

Many of BodyVox's older shows work in a similar way–each easily deciphered piece is a short component of a larger narrative whole. Those of us with short attention spans benefit greatly from this approach, and the variety gives nitpickers a chance to find at least a few points of interest.

Perhaps this was the point of most of the selected works for the evening. It's a notable goal–after all, the more people who feel comfortable watching dance, the better, right?

Sure, except when the dance in question seemed to rely on (not particularly amusing) humor to cover up poorly executed movement. Since Chronos/Kairos re-staged works from BodyVox's entire career, it was inevitable that some of the dancers would be more familiar with certain pieces than others. It showed.

At times, newer dancers seemed so unfamiliar with the choreography that it was uncomfortable to watch. Even in Shed, the only new work of the evening, one could see struggle. Poor Heather Jackson looked terrified as she climbed up an invisible staircase created by the male dancers and a couple of planks of wood. Tricks such as this one are supposed to defy gravity, not point out its nagging danger.

With time, one hopes that she will learn to tackle these stairs with ease–after all, Shed was, along with Cusp, one of the strongest pieces of the evening. Lighthearted and playful (yet still genuine), the piece showed off the company's strong classical training along with just enough story line to be uniquely BodyVox. If only the entire show had been the same.

Photo of BodyVox's Bottom of the World by Blaine Truitt Covert, courtesy of BodyVox.
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