co-artistic director Ashley Roland said, “What happens over the course of 15 years is you do a lot of work, so when doing a retrospective, it’s hard to choose.”
That’s why BodyVox’s Fifteen
has two programs, the first premiering last week
and the second last night. Comparing the two programs is like comparing apples to apples, perhaps the Braeburn and Gala varieties. Both are sweet, but not decadent. Neither is too bold, but they have character. And you probably won’t have a strong preference for one over the other.
In fact, no single dance in Program B really stands out, which is telling of BodyVox’s reluctance to edit. The show includes nine dances and two videos from the company’s archives, as well as a new work, Cafe Blanco, also in Program A. The dances are partner-heavy, mostly medium-paced and consistently schticky.
But for the sake of argument, let’s try to single out the favorite pieces. An audience member told me he liked the 2010 piece Trampoline, in which dancer Anna Marra is tossed between a group of men to Joe Henry’s track of the same name. “You didn’t know what was going to happen next,” he said, which perplexed me because I think it’s pretty predictable: One guy (Jonathan Krebs) thinks of different ways to spin Marra until the chorus, when the other dancers reemerge to toss her like a crowd surfer for a while.
I got excited about another piece for a moment, 2010’s Write My Book, a piece I like to call “TIRES!” The lights go up to reveal four tires and Eric Skinner dressed like a hobo. What is he going to do with these tires?! Here's what he does: He toys with the audience for a while before jumping on one tire and rolling across three. It's great, but it's short of my expectation for him to balance on one like a circus poodle while juggling three more.
Perhaps the piece that sticks out the most is one that involves almost no dancing. Open Line from 2005 has six dancers rhythmically sauntering onto the floor holding cell phones. Projected on the screen behind them is the message “Please turn on cell phones now. Dancers are waiting to take your call.” Six phone numbers also appear on the screen. Is this for real? I call the second number. “Hello?” answers dancer Holly Shaw. I’m incredulous. “Are you really dancing right now?” I ask. “Yes,” she says, miked so the whole audience can hear, “I’m in the middle of the floor. See?” She waves. “OK, got to go now!” She hangs up.
Cute. Apparently all of the dancers talk to audience members as they meander around, dressed in ridiculous plaid. Every once in a while a humorous snippet rises over the noise. It doesn't look scripted, but a look around the house—where few people are on cell phones—reaffirms my suspicion that most of the dancers are making up the conversations. Co-artistic director Jamey Hampton, who may or may not be talking to a real person, at one point says, “Well, it’s not really dance is it?” No, not really. But who cares?
SEE IT: Fifteen
is at BodyVox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th Ave., 229-0627. Program A runs 7:30 pm Thursday, May 16 and 2 pm Sunday, May 18. Program B runs 7:30 pm Friday-Saturday, May 10-11 and 7:30 pm Saturday-Sunday, May 17-18. $36-$59. Tickets here