Dance Evaluation: Donna Uchizono Firm at New York Dwell Arts

December 7th, 2013

Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

Donna Uchizono Business Ms. Uchizono, left, and Rebecca Serrell Cyr in the premiere of “Fire Underground,” at New York Stay Arts.

Dances that hold likely close to in circles or in which the performers endlessly spin are normally joyful or ecstatic or in pursuit of a mystical transcendence. In “Fire Underground,” the piece by Donna Uchizono that debuted at New York Dwell Arts on Wednesday, she and Rebecca Serrell Cyr spin and spin and circle every single other, but the influence is shattering. This dance is a heartbreaker.

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Ms. Uchizono has said that the perform, paired listed here with her 1999 “State of Heads,” was motivated by the wrenching 12 many years of waiting around and near misses it took her to undertake a daughter from Nepal. But while there are obvious traces of that particular experience in “Fire Underground,” the brilliance of the work is in how it abstracts the feelings of separation. It doesn’t tell the story, but it allows you to come to feel the ache.

A single masterstroke is an adaptation of Maori poi dancing, the art of swinging a ball at the stop of a tether. The two females wear frayed white gowns, like these a lady may well put on on a massive working day, or a woman when giving beginning. Ms. Cyr’s is slit in back, exposing her nakedness. The tether is manufactured out of steel beads wrapped close to her waistline like a belt, and the ball at the stop is a sachet of rice. When she whirls the ball around her, the long chain expresses the likelihood of an umbilical relationship, however the circling ball marks out a radius of exclusion.

It is harmful to strategy her, and, at 1st, Ms. Uchizono largely retains her length and walks in spot, going nowhere for a long time. She has two ball-and-chain sets on shorter cords, which she employs for self-flagellation. But then she starts off spinning them like a baton twirler or a fighter with nunchakus, powering her back again, switching up the rhythm. Due to the fact of the phenomenon of persistence of vision, the beads spinning in the mild seem to flash comprehensive circles. The splendor here and all through “Fire Underground” makes the agony more acute.

Later on, the two women do dance jointly, back again to back again, with the bottoms of their attire held among their enamel — far more publicity. But even now they go round and spherical, their mutual motion like a revolving door, so that when a single goes forward, the other slips absent. Ms. Uchizono makes you expertise the ready, and though her adoption tale has a pleased ending, this dance does not.

“Fire Underground” shares much with “State of Heads”: ready, disconnection, skirts pulled up over faces and uncovered reduce halves. The older function is stranger, much less harrowing but nonetheless unsettling, jolted by the mad-Foley-artist audio consequences of James Lo. As at performances right here in April, the cast is superb: Ms. Cyr, Hristoula Harakas and Levi Gonzalez.

Bringing in more superb dancers would look to be the major reason to existing the solo “Short Tahitian Temper” as a trio. That 1989 operate is a fast joke in which a dancer, experiencing away, sways her hips although rabid with rage. At Thursday’s efficiency, it was enjoyable to see Natalie Environmentally friendly and Jodi Melnick sign up for Ms. Uchizono — every performance features various unique attendees — but, in this program, it is just a softening up. “Fire Underground” will come previous, and leaves the theater scorched.

Donna Uchizono Business carries on by way of Saturday at New York Dwell Arts, 219 West 19th Road, Chelsea 212-924-0077, newyorklivearts.org.

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