Thatâs why BodyVoxâs 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 wonât have a strong preference for one over the other.
In fact, no single dance in Program B really stands out, which is telling of BodyVoxâs reluctance to edit. The show includes nine dances and two videos from the companyâs 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, letâs 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 Henryâs track of the same name. âYou didnât know what was going to happen next,â he said, which perplexed me because I think itâs 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, 2010âs Write My Book, a piece I like to call âTIRES!â 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 âPlease turn on cell phones now. Dancers are waiting to take your call.â Six phone numbers also appear on the screen. Is this for real? I call the second number. âHello?â answers dancer Holly Shaw. Iâm incredulous. âAre you really dancing right now?â I ask. âYes,â she says, miked so the whole audience can hear, âIâm in the middle of the floor. See?â She waves. âOK, got to go now!â 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 houseâwhere few people are on cell phonesâreaffirms 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, âWell, itâs not really dance is it?â No, not really. But who cares?