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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 7, 2020 - Volume 48 Issue 06
UW World Dance + Brian Brooks Moving Company = WOW!
Arts & Entertainment
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UW World Dance + Brian Brooks Moving Company = WOW!

by Sharon Cumberland - SGN A&E Writer

UW WORLD DANCE
BRIAN BROOKS MOVING COMPANY
MEANY CENTER FOR
THE PERFORMING ARTS
January 30 (also 1/31 & 2/1)


What do dancers do when they grow older? When their bodies begin to break down and they can't dance the way they did when they were young? One famous dancer, Wendy Whelan of the New York City Ballet, called upon choreographer, Brian Brooks to work with her in finding new ways to dance. Their collaboration, called "Restless Creature" (see it on YouTube) uses fascinating techniques of continuity, balance, and continuous movement that characterize the work of his company, the Brian Brooks Moving Company.

His dancers are young, but Brooks himself is an older dancer now, and the first dance of the evening (on opening night) replaced the previously scheduled work with a solo performed by the choreographer himself called "I'm Going To Explode" - and did he ever! His movements - energetic and explosive - have qualities that reach beyond the acrobatics and technique of youth, stripped down to the elements of movement propelled by emotions. It was a great start to a great evening featuring four of Brooks' works - one a brand-new world premiere commissioned by the Meany Center for the Performing Arts.

"I'm Going To Explode"
In this solo dance, Brooks walked onto the stage to a single chair turned sideways to the audience. He sat down, took off his shoes, then his coat, flapped his arms in time with a percussion soundscape, and proceeded to go bonkers - jumping up, twitching, twirling, falling, wrapping his arms around his head. It was rhythmic and intricate and somehow it all made crazy sense, as though the audience was witnessing a statement in a new, frantic language. He concluded by returning to the chair, putting on his shoes, and walking off stage - to the cheers and applause of the audience. It sounds weird - it was weird - but it was also a deep comment on the conventional life versus the inner life. It was a dance only the choreographer could do: complex, personal, and apparently spontaneous.

"Torrent" (2013)
This dance was an exercise in sequences - dancers forming a line and flowing, one-by-one, from the back to the front in seamless extension. As they moved, individuals in the line would step out to perform brief solos and duets, before rejoining the ever-moving stream. At one point the line developed into a diagonal that turned like the dial of a clock as dancers continuously changed their order in the line. Every move was as unique as individual lives, and yet the sequences echoed each other, as if they were creating a community of swirling waves. The dramatic ending - dancers disappearing together into the shadow of the back wall - was the only way to bring this liquid motion to a satisfying conclusion since it seemed as though it would continue forever.

"Motor" (Excerpt, 2010)
This was my favorite dance of the evening - a mesmerizing duet consisting of two men in black dance shorts performing identical steps and gestures side-by-side. They bounced on the balls of their feet, first one foot then the other, as their arms swam in the air, changing directions, orientation, pace, yet remaining linked together by an invisible force, as though one man was a mirror of the other. The music was compelling - horns in glorious chords - as the dancers (equally powerful Evan Fisk and Zachary Gonder) performed ever-increasing feats of strength in their dance steps. If one person had performed this challenging dance it would not have had the brilliance of seeing two dancers linked in forceful unison. I would happily see this dance again - and again.

"Closing Distance" (2020, World Premiere)
This world premiere dance was also my favorite dance of the evening - I wrote in my notes "WOW!!" and "GREAT DANCE TRIO!" It began with seven dancers whose movement was determined by extended arms, each dancer having to grasp another's arm before extending his or her own for others to clutch as the whole group moved in an amoeba-like body across the stage. Once again we saw Brooks' fascination with continuous movement, inventing a new way for individuals to create a single, flowing entity. At one point a trio of dancers moved together as though linked at the torso - what the human body would look like if it took three bodies to make one. This triplet linked its arms in an elaborate construction of wings, performing move after inventive move that intensified with each iteration. The dance continued with six dancers forming patterns on the floor, arm patterns in the air, heads and elbows like independent dancers - all impossible to describe, yet unendingly fascinating. What a premiere! It's the work of a very mature, very gifted choreographer.

Congratulations to the Meany Center for the Performing Arts for awarding this commission and bringing a great new dance to dance into the world. This was my first time seeing Brian Brooks Moving Company - an opportunity I hope to have many times again in the future.

Tell a friend:

 

Pacific Northwest Ballet's Cinderella a gorgeous, romantic production
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Apply yourself to SPT's Admissions - smart, funny, mind-blowing
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Mario Cantone appears in new musical Bliss at 5th Avenue Theatre
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UW World Dance + Brian Brooks Moving Company = WOW!
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SAG-AFTRA statement on the passing of Kirk Douglas
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
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92nd Annual Academy Awards predictions
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14th Annual Academy Awards party returns to Gay City: Seattle's LGBTQ Center
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Cathy Yan's colorful Birds of Prey a wickedly absurd punk rock riot
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Visually seductive Gretel & Hansel a banquet of horrific delights
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