InHale Performance Series

Chi Movement Arts Center
1316 South 9th Street, Philadelphia, PA
November 18, 2011

A Review

The InHale Performance Series is supported by the Kun-Yang Lin organization at the Chi Movement Arts Center to give emerging choreographers a venue for their works—a necessary function for the life of art. Jessica Warchal-King is the curator for this program, which presented six works of diverse aesthetic appeal.

The program opened with a sextet entitled Ornamentation, choreographed by Loren Groenendaal to music by John Cage. The entrances and exits, the changing number of dancers engaged, and the sometimes shadow play on the studio walls were all of curious interest. Despite the obvious proficiency of the dancers, the performance failed to reach beyond their skin to move the observer, so the work presented an intellectual rather than kinetic experience.  The same might be said of the second offering, What Deepens, a solo choreographed by Liz Lyle and danced by Cathrynne Reynolds to music by Apocalyptica.

The next work, entitled other earthen objects, was choreographed by Rori Smith, to music by Juana Molina, and danced by Gracianna Coscia, Kristin Gdovin, Linda Wolfe, and Ariel Zablocki. The dancers used chairs and globes and a piece of paper with a quiet, ritualistic sense of design and handling, which was intriguing and captivating. One had to pay attention to “What is next?”

Unfortunately, the slow emergence of the house lights for the intermission was an annoyance that brings me to also comment on the opening remarks made before the first dance. Inaudible to those of us on the risers, it seemed almost to be “in” information directed only to viewers in the front row.

The first dance after intermission was called Dances for those who I have loved and for those who I want to love. Its length is perhaps a prelude to the works offered by Movement Brigade, and the music credits are far too long to repeat here. The two solo dances were wonderful, with driving movement for one minute, which then wandered off into non-motion and non-choreography—perhaps symbolic of lost love and yearning? Maybe, but it was not good dance composition. And the choreographic and performance credits in the program are unclear and confused, although Alie Vidich, Erin Shanti Desmond, and Eleanor Goudie-Averill are credited with one or the other.

This was followed by a duet, Falling Still, choreographed by Melissa Chisena and performed by Melissa with Jennifer Yackel to music composed and performed by Jonathan Cannon. The work is well composed, rounded, complete, and was danced with the breath and sensitivity it deserved.

The next work was 90% Metaphor by the Samantics Dance Ensemble, choreographed by Sam Kenney and bangingly performed by Nicholas Bernard, Joseph Corallo, Danielle Izzo, Amanda Sahr, and Sydney Thomas to music by Ani DiFranco.  

It is unfortunate that the program did not provide any bios. I wanted to know more about all the personae. Except for the Samantics Dance Ensemble, from the State University of New York–Fredonia, most of the participants are from Philadelphia and its surrounds.

The Chi Movement Arts Center and Kun-Yang Lin and Ken Metzner are to be commended for providing a venue in which emerging artists may present their works.

—Ruth Grauert, November 20, 2011