Consent Forms

Scott Wells Dancers
“Consent Forms”
Dance Mission Theater, SF
Dec.7-9, 2018

Now! Questions. Conflicted Answers

“Consent Forms”, the work of Scott Wells and dancers, was part performance and part seminar on current questions of ‘consent’ (permission to touch?), so currently on the agenda of everyday news. This agenda does bring the audience into participation. It also makes for time lags, uncomfortable moments for those who cannot find the words and disruption of focus for those who come to concentrate on the dancing.

The best event, choreographically and comment useful, was Wells’ “The Why ask why we dance DUET?”. The piece is a duet for Sebastian Grubb and Michaela Burns who perform it with great technical ease and superb ensemble. But, then the questions.

“Is there a romantic inference when a man and woman dance together? If the woman wears a dress, does that imply sexual preference? Does the music matter? The text?”

All of these were presented and discussed. Grubb and Burns repeated the work. It is a very good piece of contact choreography no matter what the implications.

Also fun and in good spirits was the group work by Miriam Wolodarski performed by herself and Megan Lowe. A group of men sat listening. The title of the work is “Men listening to Women.” The text accompanying the work is by a distinguished group of women, writers, musicians and others whose voices have been heard. The men listened. The women danced with easy skill. Their performance was heard.

I am not impressed with the two pieces choreographed, taught, spoken and directed by Liz Duran Boubion. “What are we doing here?”, a work for herself with Grubb, Lowe, Vitali Kononov and Wells, began with instructions to the audience. No audience can follow the complexity of so many directions while watching others. The improvisors, though committed and skilled, seemed ‘out of it,’ using somewhat indifferent energy, but enjoying each others’ moves. Boubion appeared to dominate the event as she dominates others in posture and gesture. She made a point of changing her costume to something ‘show-biz’ at the end, and then sang. She can’t sing.

Her “1993” work drew even more attention to herself as she employed complex and extravagant costumes to ‘act out’ her response to ‘rape’ stories in “Don’t Grab.” The piece goes on and on. Five other dancers join her. She leads them around, changing costume pieces constantly, leaving the others in very secondary roles. Their confrontation with her might make the piece interesting. Boubion, while skilled and talented in her ideas and movement, could edit and focus her work.

The excellent lighting design was by Harry Rubeck.

Joanna G. Harris