Jess Curtis “Intercontinental Collaborations #7”
Nov 2-5 2017 Joe Goode Annex, S.F.
Revisiting the “New”
Jess Curtis/Gravity presented three events at Joe Goode’s Preforming Annex. Each had echoes of past performances; visiting European artists; physical diversity, dis/ability; spatial experiments; digital technology.
Rachael Dichter’s “A Portrait of Me as You (Everything is a Copy) 2016″ Is an event in semi-nudity (top off/and on) which asks, and begs the question “Do you see me?” With a series of slow moves, stretches, bends, crawling to the floor and some tentative locomotion, Dichter draws attention to herself and her body. She is engaging but not convincing.
“Sight Unseen,” is performed by five dancers amidst many chairs scattered in the ‘stage’ space. The dancers moved among and around these chairs and the audience seated in them. As they moved, they encountered one another, gave instructions and comments (not always heard) and seemed to have a very good time in the usual holds, lifts, floor moves and not too inventive dance vocabulary. Curtis’ notes says this event came from essays by Gorgina Kleege “investigating the complex interaction of language and movement.” It was apparently fun for the performers, Sherwood Chen, Gabriel Christian, Rachael Dichter, Celine Alwyn Parker and Tiffany Taylor.
Celine and Gabriel were the most interactive: others seem to follow. Again, although this might be ‘new’ for this group, such events have been staged many times before. It was fun for the dancers; less so for the audience.
Most interesting and moving was the opening piece “Remote,” danced as a duet (with cell phones in hand) by Tara Brandel and Linda Fearon. The work was commissioned by an Irish group (and has been performed there and in Berlin) Croi Glan. The two women, one somewhat limited in movement range, slowly come together from opposite sides of the stage. Eventually they establish a shared movement vocabulary, contact and a sense of intimacy in movement and body contact. It is a poignant event. The cell phones are discarded in an embrace, but of course, taken up again.
Curtis has been ‘on the boards’ here in San Francisco for many years. His ideas are always fascinating and well performed. But the dance community has been catching up with its ongoing inventions and Jess Curtis/Gravity could move on and even further ‘out.’
Joanna G. Harris