Performing Arts: Dance
December 14, 2015
Larry Keigwin dances with the ease of someone who banters surrounded by intimate friends. His wit and genial, conversational manner makes you wonder why this form of dance is so rare. He performs three solos during his 2015 season at The Joyce Theatre, dispersed in the program as one might offer a sorbet between courses of a feast.

Titled 3 Ballads, Keigwin responds to the sweet sounds of Peggy Lee (1920-2002) singing “Somebody Loves Me,” “He Needs me,” and “Something Wonderful.” His style is reminiscent of a young, jaunty Twyla Tharp, with an extra dash of sugar - displayed with lingering images, such as flapping his arms like a kid trying to fly, as he does at the close of Ballad 3.

You could have been fooled that Drop, the first group dance in the program, was choreographed by Keigwin. Certainly Keigwin is clever to include Drop, a World Premiere, by Adam Barruch, set to music by Roarke Menzies, and slinky, flattering costumes by Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung. The mood is sexy, the women are dangerous, the movement is fun and infectious, and no one is quite in charge of themselves or their affect on others.

Exit like an Animal, a commission for Keigwin by the Dance Division of The Juilliard School, has its strongest thrust in the first part with two more sections that appear to be afterthoughts. A terrific vehicle for fifteen dancers, it’s no wonder why Keigwin has won such a following among universities, musical producers, as well as modern dance companies - including Paul Taylor. The movement is largely grounded, exploratory with an exquisite sense of timing, setting the dancers in unison, in groups of various sizes.

Sidewalk, created in 2009 set to music by Steve Reich, was commissioned by Works & Process at the Guggenheim, plays off one gesture in two planes, on- stage and in the aisles. That gesture performed by six, is true to the title - a large side walk with straight arms swinging (the shadow of which suggests paper cut-out dolls). Performed in running shoes, white shirts, black tight skirts and pants, the overall affect is one of mission-driven office workers doing their utmost to get the job done. The audience hooted at its conclusion.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Deirdre Towers

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