SENSEDANCE at City Center

May 30–June 3, 2003
Henning Rübsam

A Review

Henning Rübsam, director of SENSEDANCE, a New York City–based company, presented his tenth annual season at the studio theatre at City Center, May 30–June 3, 2003.  Mr. Rübsam, along with seven recent college dance major graduates and the seasoned artist, Christine Reisner, performed five pieces, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous.  Henning interspersed his skillful solos set to Schubert with group pieces set to traditional Iraqi music and Duke Ellington orchestral arrangements.  He set an exquisite solo on Ms. Reisner to a selection from Brahms, which was weighted and provided a heavy counterbalance to her quicksilver gestures and rapid fire control of her petite and finely tuned body.  Christine danced with nuance, clarity, and a range of motion rarely seen by dancers half her age.  Her worldliness and sophistication provided a depth to her dancing and to the choreography, which would have been better served by an equally clever costume.  Dressed in simple maroon cotton leotard and matching dance skirt, Ms. Reisner revealed her impeccably trained body to a riveted audience.

In other group pieces, the dancers danced with high spirits, energy, and unusual command of their bodies.  Quick shifts of weight, direction, and inventive formations in space salted and peppered the piece entitled Garden, set to traditional Iraqi music.  The female octet was darting in and out of defined areas with a freedom and sense of abandon that was skillful and fearless.  The closing finale piece On the Fritz was colorful and had a sense of humor.  The women, dressed in mini-dresses bordering on negligees, surrounded Henning, dressed in partial drag.  He used an oversized water gun at one point and shot the audience in a fake attempt at danger, suggesting a pun on terrorism.  The audience did not laugh, although the light-hearted nature of the piece was charming and entertaining, albeit confusing in its motivation.

Even seasoned artists benefit from inviting a critical eye to see their work before showing finished products to the paying public.  Had Mr. Rübsam chosen to show his work to a trusted source, he might have benefited from some necessary editing.  Less is always more and although the evening revealed wit, it would have been richer had the pieces been honed with less superfluous dancing of movement combinations.

— Lynn Needle, June 2003

Henning Rübsam notes the following corrections:

  1. The 10th anniversary season was in 2002 for two weeks at The Kitchen.

  2. The studio showings at City Center (with a question and answer period after each showing) were intended to get feedback from the audience to help determine what to edit in preparation for the next presentation of the work.

The official presentation of the finished (and edited) work will be at NYC’s Joyce SoHo Theater, 155 Mercer Street, October 2–5, at 8 p.m.  Tickets are $20 and can be reserved by calling 212-334-7479.  Henning adds, “I hope you can come and that you will spread the word!  I would be tickled by another review of the finished work. ”