22 February 2014
LaGuardia Performing Arts Center
Long Island City, New York
After dancing in her formative years with the Erick Hawkins Dance Company, Valerie Green founded her own company, Dance Entropy, to create multi-ethnic stage and site-specific works that blend creation, performance and education to incubate new forms of dance from the Green Space, Ms. Green’s base in Long Island City.
Considering Dance Entropy’s vital role in linking dance and community, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center (located in The International High School at LaGuardia Community College) was a good choice of venue for the weekend’s ambitious program, featuring a performance of Ms. Green’s powerful 2013 dance theater piece Skimming The Surface: Fragments of Collective Unconscious along with premieres of her multimedia solo work Womb and a multi-act ballet, Hinge.
Skimming the Surface: Fragments of Collective Unconscious (2013), is a sharply focused expressionist drama featuring four dancers (Hana Ginsburg Tirosh, Kristin Licata, Yayoi Suzuki, Raleigh Veach). A bare lightbulb illuminates a blue room framed by two opaque windows, and scattered with four chairs and a table in disarray. Four characters inhabit this chilling space, and knives come out. [Stop – no spoilers in this post!]
In collaboration with photographer/videographer Rodney Zagury, Ms. Green performed a mesmerizing solo, Womb (premiere), realistically channeling the fluid movements of a fetus in the amniotic sac. Previously recorded projections of the dancer on two planes of vision added layers of epistemological challenge to a new form of dance experience utilizing natural body mechanics to produce a heightened aesthetic effect.
Hinge (premiere), a pure dance piece for six dancers (Emily Diers, Hana Ginsburg Tirosh, Kristin Licata, Yayoi Suzuki, Raleigh Veach, and Laureen Elizabeth in a standout performance), was accompanied by a brilliant composition by Yui Kitamara played live on stage by MuSE (Multicultural Sonic Evolution): Wanzhen Li (violin); Chihiro Shibayama and Jared Soldiviero (percussion).
In his curtain-raiser, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center managing director Steven Hitt introduced Ms. Green as a valuable resource to the LIC community. I would expand that to include the world of dance and the potential of one choreographer to improve the lot of humanity, starting with the artist’s home base.