Pearson Widrig Dance Theater — Melt

At the Duke, West 42nd St., New York City
March 16 through 20, 2005
New York, New York

A Review

  • Across the footlights 18” blocks of ice glow in the white light of side-mounted lekos. The ceremony begins. The dancers enter and one by one stand on blocks of ice until they break.
  • Projected on the cyclorama archival footage of ice cutting and processing intimates what is to come.
  • Inspired by those visions, the dancers give us continuous visions of the flowing of ice.
  • The dancers are marvelously athletic, their contact-improvisation technique used with clarity and invention. The hard cyclorama becomes a contact partner. The dance flows as the ice has flowed.
  • Sara brings us intimations of spring. The ice flows some more. There is a ceremony of two dry ice pots, which flow their mist across the stage, and still the ice blocks contact ice blocks.
  • Sara brings us baby plants. The ice flows some more.
  • Sara brings us maturing vegetation. For a moment there is the wonderful vision of the faces behind the foliage. The ice flows some more.
  • We see the flight of water birds from the melted icy waters. The dancers stand on the blocks of ice still melting at the footlights till they break.

By this time you have intimations of my reservations. There is no question about the marvelous competency of the dancers or the ability of Sara and Patrik to compose a continuity of contact that is intriguing to view. There are certain things I wished I had seen. I really needed a new vision when the ice finally broke. I thought I was going to get it when the dancers grouped in a sort of “pig pile,” but… more of the marvelous same. I thought maybe when the smoking pots appeared with truly compelling ceremony, just maybe, but… more of the marvelous same. Even the cyclorama shadows became a reiteration. (Changing patterns in the lekos could have helped here.) That marvelous vision of faces through the vegetative growth presaged change, but no…

Despite my reservations, Melt is a well-choreographed contact work that I am pleased to have seen. It was just too much of a really good thing.

— Ruth E. Grauert, March 21, 2005