writers on dancing

The DanceView Times, Washington, D.C. edition

Other Directions

Bowen McCauley Dance
Millennium Stage
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Washington, DC
June 17, 2004

by George Jackson
copyright 2004 by George Jackson
published June 21 2004

Lucy Bowen McCauley, one of the Washington area's busiest choreographers, is off in a new direction. She's discovered the instrumental ensemble Tone, which specializes in music of high intensity. The group's art is one of ultra-amplification. Several people sitting near me covered their ears when Tone built up to a climax, but there was a bonus: the two numbers Bowen McCauley has set so far seemed formal and serious. The first, Telemetry, was a solo for Alison Crosby, a remarkable dancer with a squarish body. Crosby, in the years when she was dancing ballet, seemed to model herself on Soviet ballerinas like Marina Semyonova, and although less massive, achieved a sculptural quality and a proud bearing that impressed with its commanding carriage of the head and shoulders. In this piece, dressed in a black leotard, Crosby looked like an Olympic champion. The movement focused on her torso—pulses that became almost violent, a long and slow arching backward and, too, elongations. Crosby registered both Tone's sound and the pull of gravity.

Sketch, the other dance to Tone's live accompaniment, at first also looked sportive. The two women, Elizabeth Gaus and Katerina Rodgaard, and the one man, Robert Sidney, crouched as if waiting for the signal to race. Bowen MacCauley, though, became more interested in exploring dynamic tensions and resolutions among the three individuals than in sending them down the track. Sidney proved to be a subtle dance actor, both in Sketch and in the program's opener.

That first piece, For No Good Reason At All, is a dance suite to taped music by a very different group, Hesperus. This ensemble's country fiddling and singing already tend to the precious, and Bowen McCauley's overly illustrative and excessively cute choreography was no antidote. The oriental stylization of Saffron Dreams featured Ingrid Zimmer's long line and Chip Coleman's suave strength, but went on too long. Soaked, Sylvana Christopher's solo for herself, was the one dance not by Bowen McCauley. The piece was aptly named, particulalrly on this occasion since some of the audience on their way to the performance had been caught in a heavy dowpour. The solo explored diverse aspects of being drenched. Wisely, Christopher limited herself to situations that can be conveyed clearly through movement. Even so, with more experience, this young choreographer will learn that a hint here and there when there's lots of depiction helps like a pinch of pepper on potato puree.

originally published:
Volume 2, Number 23
June 21, 2004

© 2004 George Jacksont



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last updated on June 14, 2004