Infintity Dance Theater and Pi Dance Theatre
Judson Memorial Church, New York City
The matinee program, The Womens Stories Project, was conceived and produced by Infinity, directed by Kitty Lunn. The Womens Story Project was just thatfive women telling how they came to be where they now are, two of whom are wheelchair bound, and one is a nun. That none of these ladies (all very good people, I am sure) ever took classes at The Actors Studio is apparent, because the verbal presentation was hard to hear (I strained to get it). And had I been able to read ASL, the signing interpreter was so far to stage left, I could not see her from where I sat. Am I complaining? Well, maybe a little. From a literary point of view the verbal presentation lacked dramatic profile.
Despite all this, I did get it. A dramatic happening flung them from where they were into where they are now (in the case of Kitty Lunn, who was headed for a career in ballet, an accident broke her back and confined her to a wheelchair). But the drama of some of the stories I did not get (hopefully only because I could not hear). Life takes you and you make the most of it.
Both Infinity (Kitty Lunn) and Pi (Toni Taylor) collaborated on the evening performance. One of its highlights was the music of William Cantanzaro, who composed and performed his work for The Elements Suite on a piano, a strange sound box fitted with wooden bars to strike, and a little electric gadget that produced a variety of sounds when activated. The poetry for this work, varied and well chosen, needed integration and theatrical consideration. For a narrator to enter and exit, to stand front and center, being seen but not designed into the visual aesthetic, is a jarring interruption. However, it was Toni Taylors UpDownInOut.AllAround that was the dance highlight of the evening. With the partnering of wonderful ladders, wheelchairs and dancers, this work, with its clear motional and visual design, finished the evening gloriously.
How do I see all thisthe afternoon and evening, of some folks in wheelchairs, some of it reaching to present philosophy (Dreambody deals with the chakra system), reaching to educate (most of the afternoons tales), and to be inclusive (The Elements Suite, which included poetry). As a dancer I am disturbed by the sudden intrusion of a decorous ballet hand but lifted by the honest swirling of chairs. As a theater person I dislike the lack of attention to placement details (the narrators of poetry). As a human I applaud the making of art from out of the who we are!!
Ruth Grauert, November 16, 2012