Parlon Dance Projects
Saturday, January 29, 2005
© 2005 by George Jackson
Tommy Parlon, a distinctive performer, knows how to present himself.
Dancing and gymnastics are one in his technique. Capable of handstands,
somersaults, slides and all sorts of other acrobatics, he uses athletic
moves not as tricks but as part and parcel of a choreographic vocabulary.
In his solo, "Pale", Parlon looked like a bodybuilder, not the
bulky sort but alert, controlled and tough. He wore just black modeling
trunks, so one was aware that his torso could be a taller man's, yet his
legs didn't disappear. Lighting from above, by outlining their musculature,
made their strength and stretch register. A close haircut with extended
sideburns lengthens Parlon's neck neatly. It enlarges his ears too much,
yet in sum it makes him look serious. Gone is the long hair and eager,
puppydog air he had when he first danced in Washington.
Parlon has been away (Arizona, New York, Ohio) for a while and comes back
as a choreographer and teacher as well as performer. The five dances on
this program were studies, not fully developed compositions. The largest
in scope, "In the Absence of Precious Things", is a quartet
for Ann Beherands, Megan Morse, Julia Smith and himself that suggests
trapped people. Do their encounters take place in prison, or are the four
just caught in relationships and locations that have grown stale for them?
Parlon knew how to make the movement's acrobatic components underline
and not contradict the work's dispirited mood. Still, this was the one
piece that became repetitious. Astor Piazzolla was credited for the music,
but was that abrupt ending his?
Two of the four other dances could have gone on longer. I wanted to see
at least one more mood shift of Pamela England's in "Come Closer",
Parlon's deft solo for her, also to Piazzolla music. Parlon's own solo,
to a Labradford sound score, needed a summing up of its diverse allusions
which included not just muscle men and monks, but also animal behavior,
and human awkwardness and skill.
In "Low Sun", a trio for Beherands, Morse and himself, Parlon
does much to ignore the accompanying piano pieces by Edvard Grieg. He
not only runs the movement through the music's pauses but doesn't register
its mood shifts in rhythm, volume and speed. The effect isn't at all the
Cunningham/Cage one of freedom and surprising instances of sympathy but
rather that of something obstinate and incomplete.
I liked best the end of "Crosslagged", the opening dance to
Labradford music in which Smith and Parlon came together in an embrace
after doing their own thing. (I missed the piece's start due to snow delays.)
In his other choreography Parlon is very precise in measuring out movement
for himself and his dancers. Feeling seemed to take over in this duo.
3, No. 5
January 31, 2005
©2005 by George Jackson
Alan M. Kriegsman
Sali Ann Kriegsman
Alexandra Tomalonis (Editor)
Kathrine Sorley Walker
The Autumn Issue
of DanceView is OUT! (Our subscription link
is working again, so it's easy to subscribe on line!)
Greskovic reviews two new DVDs of Fonteyn dancing "Sleeping
Beauty" and "Cinderella"
Cargill on last summer's Ashton Celebration
of Gililian Murphy, reviews of the ABT Spring season, springtime
in Paris, reports from London and San Francisco
is available by subscription ONLY. Don't miss it. It's a good
read. Black and white, 48 pages, no ads. Subscribe
is published quarterly (January, April, July and October)
in Washington, D.C. Address all correspondence to:
P.O. Box 34435
Washington, D.C. 20043