December 9,10, 16,17, 2017
Shawl Anderson Dance Center, Berkeley
Sarah Bush has choreographed a charming event, full of nostalgia, humor and lively action to bring us a holiday event, “Homeward.” The evening consists of twenty or more episodes, danced by a company of women of several ages, that recall the dynamics, humor as well as the interactive troubles of home life.
Bush has transformed the various studios of the Shawl-Anderson Dance Center into visiting centers where one can meet the dancers before the main event. Then the major event is set with a sofa, a kitchen table, chairs … and even a mattress. These set pieces become the locus/focus of the many episodes enacting the nostalgia, conflicts, and comforts of ‘home.’ The dancers, Julie Crothers, Can Lazarus, Rose Huey, Sue Li Jue and Jeni Leary, change costumes often, taking on several roles within family dynamics. They exchange roles, places, tasks playing in turn, mother, father, siblings and outsiders.
An outstanding episode was that between Joan Lazarus (clearly the senior member) and Sue Li Jute. They sat at the table and used hand gestures to simulate a complex conversation. Lazarus also performed a suitcase event; others joined her. Clearly someone has to leave ‘home.’ Julie Crothers is clearly a lovely lyric dancer: she seemed to be the charming child. Rose Huey took many roles, some tough and aggressive. To the audience’s delight, Jeni Leary was joined by her young son Marley in a final duet. The next generation is clearly also at ‘home.’
Bush has accomplished a charming and thoughtful experience that is well crafted in the studio space of Shawl Anderson Dance Center. For this old fashioned reviewer, the vocabulary of lifting, falling, rolling and handling one another could be reduced and more extensive dance patterns used. Given the dramatic setting however, the vocabulary was most appropriate. The finale which Bush joined was delightful.
Credits: Linda Baumgardner, Lighting
Joanna G. Harris
Rose Huey, Joan Lazarus, Sue Li Jue, Julie Crothers
In “Homeward” Sarah Bush Dance Project
Photo: Lisa Harding