Motionhouse, water, UK, dance, Pace University, NYC premier
Motionhouse, the UK- based contemporary dance company, presented their latest evening-length work, Scattered, at Pace University's Schimmel Center for the Arts on Tuesday, February 12. The company's New York City premiere engagement, Motionhouse delivered their trademark athletic physicality with rigor and precision, but the theatrics and stagecraft of the performance did not lend to a truly unique and reality-bending work of art.
According to the program notes, the importance of water inspired artistic director Kevin Finnan to create Scattered. Using a huge, curved floor as both a prop and a backdrop on which many computer-generated images of water were projected, the dancers were forced through a jerky and unintelligible traverse over various landscapes ranging from an iceberg, to a desert, to an empty swimming pool, to a few moments that looked like Pac Man-inspired graphic paths of water droplets.
The performers of Motionhouse are masterful movers, but as a production Scattered did not possess the mastery of illusion that makes a multi-media production effective. More often than not the timing that was necessary to coordinate the relationship between the dancers and the screen was sacrificed for yet another turn or lift. Other than the interspersed, melodramatic asides, it was unclear why the movement had been paired with the chosen stagecraft.
Scattered leaves the audience member puzzled. The dancers clearly have the ability to perform any choreographic or theatrical task, but they seem not to have been granted permission to investigate the purpose of the work. It made no sense that their hair and clothes were dry while they mimicked swimming underwater, or why the videographer created a work about nature and only used computer-generated graphics. Dancers with Motionhouse's level of talent and mastery of the art need the opportunity to fulfill the potential of Scattered. Unfortunately that potential was not realized here.
Photography by Chris Nash
Kayt MacMaster is a NYC based dancer, choreographer, dance writer, and co-founder and artistic director of a newly conceived performance company, blueprint dance project. MacMaster earned a BFA in Dance and a Minor in Writing and Rhetoric from Oakland University in her home state of Michigan. As an educator and movement researcher, she has spent time in Ghana, West Africa and presented research at the 2012 National Dance Education Organization conference in Los Angeles. Kayt MacMaster is a registered yoga instructor, folk music disciple, and film enthusiast. She is currently working with Jeremy Xido on his documentary film, Death Metal Angola. |