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OtB A.W.A.R.D. Show: Night Two

Another round of partial nudity, German beer maid costumes and a mix of AC/DC, Chopin, and Beyonce left half the crowd in laughter (and the other half scratching their heads) during night two of the On the Boards A.W.A.R.D. show. Most of the acts had live music, which was a nice touch, but sloppy movement and cheap thrills distracted from the true intentions of some of the choreographers.

The show opened with Home Made, an experimental piece performed by dancers from tEEth and choreographed by Angelle Herbert. A large white sheet on the floor covered the two dancers, who had a video camera with them, and a large projector at the back of the stage gave the audience a view under the covers where the naked dancers gave tours of various parts of their bodies. Freckles, light grey eyes, the curve of a female hip. There was something heartbreakingly intimate about the way in which the female caressed her partner’s head with her foot. When the camera went off they stood up, and a light underneath the sheet allowed them to contort their bodies into dancing shadows. Once the sheet was removed (and they somehow came out fully clothed) the two dancers launched into a beautiful exploration of coupling (which seems to be a common theme) in which they focused very much on the mouth, with one dancer controlling the other, puppet like, using a hand or foot against her mouth. The piece ended, literally, with a scream. 

Josephine’s Echopraxia (which means the involuntary repetition of movement observed in another, very fitting for this piece) presented Saying goodbye again and again and again and again…[stifle], choreographed by Marissa Rae Niederhauser. Two live electric guitars and a drummer gave the feeling of a 1970’s rock show. So did the performers, whose movements were sometimes wild, with focus on the hands and floor work that wanted to be sharper. The corps of the group engaged in the synchronized motions, but there was always a point at which one member was slightly off from the other three; the frequency with which it happened made it appear intentional. Although there were some confusing moments, the group presented a very clear investigation of the idea of conformity and a lovely ending in which it actually appeared that the dancers were fighting against being dragged backwards across the stage against their will.

A lot of laughs were offered up to Quark Contemporary Dance Theatre, whose Cutting Room by David Lorence Schleiffers involved a fully costumed Little Bo Beep, male dancers in green felt Lederhosen, and women in kitschy German attire. The group capitalized on a mirroring technique, but it seemed as though they were holding back; the kicks and jumps could have been bigger, and the male dancers clearly had the strength to propel them. About half the audience cracked up at the repetitive hip circles and pelvic thrusts, but all I could keep thinking about was how eerily similar the performance was to a 1940’s German youth sporting competition, which was clearly part of the intention.

Waxie Moon closed out the evening, performing a riotous piece called Trinity, with three parts entitled I. Secret, II. Sorrow and III. Spirit. Choreographed and performed by Marc Kenison, the act was part strip tease, part drag performance and very little ‘dance’ Waxie Moon appeared on stage dressed like a steampunk circus ringmaster, then stripped down to a thong, making various phallic suggestions with his removed gloves. The second section featured a projected video of him in full women’s funeral attire, skillfully walking through a large patch of river rocks in 4-inch stiletto heels, eventually stripping naked and wading into a river. Spirit really got the audience going as Kenison swished onstage in a tie-dyed garment that can only be described as robes similar to what one would see on the Virgin Mary. He performed an interpretive dance to Beyonce’s ‘Halo’, leaving us in riotous laughter, wondering exactly what it was we had just seen.

On this night the audience’s choice for overall favorite lined up with mine, and tEEth will join zoe | juniper for the Sunday night showdown