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Orderly Hurtling in Matter Over Mind

“Rhapsodia”
MFDP: Joyce SoHo, New York City
July 25, 2000

by Jennifer Dunning, Contributor
copyright ©2000

Self-presented in associatin with Joyce SoHo, at Joyce SoHo, 155 Mercer Street, NYC, July 20-23.

Mark Foehringer, the director of the Western Ballet of Mountain View, Calif., made a good case for pretty, lyrical dance with nothing much on its mind on Saturday night at the Joyce SoHo. Mr. Foehringer, a former member of the Cisne Negro Dance Company in Brazil, presented a fifth-anniversary program of new and recent work performed by a chamber group of dancers drawn from Lines, the Oakland Ballet and other California troupes.

His new "Concerto Grosso" had what seemed like an uncharacteristic dark and propulsive edge, a response, perhaps, to its urgent score by Bloch. But the piece, performed by the Mark Foehringer Dance Project, suggested much about his approach to dance.

Mr. Foehringer is fond of long, curved body lines that cut gently through space or establish the momentum for easy turns, rises and falls. He sent his dancers hurtling through the orderly, seamlessly shifting patterns that characterize his choreography, pulled to the center then spilling back to the perimeter of the dance space. Limbs thrust rather than opened out into space.

There were moments when the dance and music subsided into relative calm. But "Concerto Grosso" built to an orderly maelstrom with all eight dancers moving quickly about the small stage, stirring the warm night air in the theater.

The program of four pieces ended with Mr. Foehringer's imaginative, funny 1997 "Jammies," a suite of short pieces to slyly chosen popular music. Dressed in pajamas and clutching pillows, the dancers sailed sassily through "Toothbrush Tango" and six other numbers. "Do You Wanna Dance?" was a duet for a nearsighted nerd and intermittent lothario and his dogged danced partner (Christian Burns, Graciela Acedo).

In "Perhaps," a woman danced with the admiring self reflected in her large purple hand mirror (Tatiana A'Virmond). And sleeping bodies looked as if they were traveling on clouds in another highlight, "Pillows." The immensely likeable, sleekly classical ballet group also included Lori Seymour, Katherine Wells, Michael Howerton, Matt Kovac and Carlo Sierras.

July 25, 2000
copyright ©2000
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