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Open: 10/18/12- Close: 10/20/12 360 Dance Company
Reviewed for TheaterOnline.com By: Victoria Dombroski

Jashiro Dean ©2014  Carrie Ellmore-Tallitsch and Martin Lofsnes in Lauri Stalling's "Regular Chain of Being"

360 Dance Company, founded in 2007 by Artistic Director Martin Lofsnes, presented a diverse line up of seven works at Thursday’s opening night gala dedicated to their 5th Anniversary. This young company’s mission is to present classic modern dance masterpieces juxtaposed with original contemporary dance works. They indeed gave a stimulating performance that conveyed  sentiments of preservation as well as development. Opening the show was a video presentation, that immediately engaged the audience with pulsating beats of intensity that corresponded with excerpts from pieces danced by the company’s past performances. The movements of such selections were quite accented, as the audience’s eyes were fixated on a sharp whip of the head, strike of the leg, or thrust of momentum in a partnered lift. As the film screen was raised, you could feel the audience’s anticipation for what was to come. 

The opening piece, entitled “Time is Money” was choreographed by Jane Dudley in 1932. This solo was danced by Yuko Giannakis for opening night only and was an absolute gem in the gala. This piece held strength, clarity, and simplicity, so much so that it stayed with me as the most gratifying piece to experience throughout the night’s performance. There was a true sense of commitment to each and every movement executed by this beautiful dancer. The audience is presented with this solitary dancer, completely dressed in pale blue, standing center stage in the spotlight. The first phrases we hear are “Tick tock, time is money,” “haste is waste,” and soon after, “charred bodies” and “yellow, green decaying skins of time.” These somewhat jolting messages were conveyed by Yoko in such a way that they were precise and to the point, without being too obviously translated. Sharp turns of her head from side to side, she made her way around the stage in long lunges and graceful sprints. Lying on the floor, she placed her head sideways on her open palm, as if to rest, when suddenly she grasps a fist next to heart and pulls sharply away while she opens her mouth wide open. Again and again she repeats this, with slightly more speed and wider range of movement. She looks again frantically, time is running out, and she comes center stage, parallel feet right foot in front of left. She begins to switch, and switch again, until back and forth her legs scissor and there is no where to go. Finally she reaches right, left, and upwards and as the words “turns and twists” are spoken, she spins furiously with her arms outstretched lateral to her body. Her arms circle above her, stopping sharply at what the audience must imagine as a clock, and the words “time, time, work, work” are spoken. She drops to the floor and her back arches and feet flex, tense and motionless we pause with her, and she pounds one fist and then the other into the ground. Springing up to standing she runs every which way. Our last image is a look of striking intensity, as she grabs the air in front of her, bringing a clenched fist to her hip, and the lights fade with a glow on her immovable gaze straight through the audience. 

Jashiro Dean ©2014  Company in Martin Lofsnes' "Near Dark"

Martin Lofsnes’s world premiere “Near Dark” had an electrifying and other worldly energy, keeping the audience stimulated and engaged from one movement to the next. An audience member, Kaoru Ikeda, described Martin’s dancing himself as grounded and stabilizing in quality, creating an enormous energetic atmosphere.” We saw this movement quality in his company dancers, eluding a sort of extended energy that flows beyond the dancer’s bodies and into the audience space. The film projection behind the dancers of stars and constellations in the galaxy gave a sense of timelessness and never-ending space, transporting us to a state of neutrality. The previous pieces being related to the pressures of time, as Martin’s solo entitled “Purpura, Homre Sapo” also emphasized, served as incredible preluding pieces to this final work as it seemed to have eluded time, as such. The dancers entered from every wing, pacing the stage in straight lines at swift paces. Their gray, blue, and purple shorts and tops gave a milky way-like expression. There was beautiful execution of attitude turns, suspended and then halted in a sharp fifth position, giving punctuation to such airy movement. Legs would extend outward on high diagonals as other dancers would stop the leg and dive under it, or wrap around them to develop their leg in another direction. Interestingly so were the “off balance” passe positions, where the dancers would let their pelvis take them off axis and they would be propelled in a forward motion by their own body’s momentum. Staggering wide walks with the same driving of the pelvis forward swept them across the stage as if gravity was pulling them to the sides.

Most intriguing to me was the beauty in simplicity that was emanated by a particular section, with one man in the upstage right corner and three young women in the downstage left corner. He stood with his back to them, balancing on one leg with the opposite easily raised with the knee at ninety degrees as his lower leg hung loosely. The women elegantly extended one arm above their heads, as they ever so carefully crossed one foot over the other so that their legs were straight but crossed, creating a long line from floor to fingertip. They then rotated around themselves, unwinding while slowly bring their arm down in perfect unison and speed as if they were wound up with the same degree of torque. Facing the man in the corner once again we see that he has reached the ground, and is now sitting with his knees facing the ceiling in front of him angling away from the girls. He had such control and  consistency of movement that we didn’t notice his change of level while watching the women, even though their focus stayed on him the entire time! The audience hears the sound of dripping water, overlapped with what sounds like reverberating music beats that are muffled by being underwater. I had the sense that I truly was underwater, both audibly and through the dancers’ movement. They gave a sense of texture as if they were pushing against the density of water with their bodies. Slow motion runs towards the man became soothing for the audience, as the dancers had great control and unison of movement. The girls disperse and create waves of movement with their body, arms and legs flowing like seaweed contrasted with lines of arabesques and deep lunges. One dancer finally runs up that mysterious man in the corner, and as she gives a beautiful battement of the leg, he pins his leg over hers and runs his leg along hers from hip to ankle. The sense of being bound occurs again when she raises her arms above her head and pins them back down to her sides by her wrists. Their partnering intensifies with pushing and pulling of opposition, long legs extended from side to side and lunges outward that get pulled back in.  Finally, we see a solitary dancer walking backwards into the galaxy center stage, as the rest of the dancers lay scattered around him and the lights slowly fade. What seems to be a shooting star flashes brightly on the screen, as if just exhausting its final second of energy and light. With a sudden blackout, the audience is left with what seemed to be a progression from the theme of the evening, a sense of timelessness.  


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Venue:
AILEY CITIGROUP THEATER : 405 West 55th Street