Art of Motion Performance

Ramsey College, Mahwah, New Jersey
May 10, 2008

A Report

This is a report on Art of Motion, a report rather than a review for I find I incongruous to presume to review a concert for which I also designed the lighting.

Lynn Needle, founder and a director of Art of Motion, presented five of her works and performed in most of them (and in works by others). There is no doubt that she maintains a facile and dynamic instrument. Art of Motion is an eclectic school of dance. That is, it has no one aesthetic, but rather elects to work in a variety of techniques. Lynn choreographs (and performs) in several of these differing aspects of dance. At times I find the resulting cross-pollination disturbing. Walking (and other mundane movements), the dancer can and does nuance with meaning and intent. However, I do find it difficult to feel the nuance in a split and in holding the foot in one hand and elevating it on high. These come to me as intrusions (I always feel, “Look, Ma, I’m dancing”), and this jars me from absorbing the aesthetic of the work. Lynn chooses to use these “devices” in several of her dances, and I do wish she’d find a way to make them “mean something.”

Christine Reisner, who performed ensemble in several presentations, also presented a solo, Bob Fosse’s Erbie Fitch’s Twitch from the musical Redhead. She is a wow of a jazz performer, and I feel she lived up to the standard set by Gwen Verdon. And then true to the eclectic nature of Art of Motion she performed (beautifully) a solo choreographed by Henning Rübsam called, enigmatically, Innocence, a quiet study in shape.

During the evening there were many more offerings—great jazz ensembles and decent solos—sprinkled throughout. As always I was pleased to see the work of Olivia Galgano, co-director of Art of Motion. Her ballet reconstructions are always so clear. She never stresses her performers, from teen-age dancers from the school, to seasoned professionals who come to work with her, and the clarity of the motion comes through. And the jazz was rip-roaring fun, the live accompaniment delicious. The sprinkling of vocalists (who focused on the upcoming Mother’s Day) filled out the eclectic nature of the Art of Motion.

—Ruth Grauert, May 11, 2008