CITIZENS OF HERE AND ELSEWHERE
February 3, 2018
CITIZENS OF HERE AND ELSEWHERE choreograhped by Alexandra Amirov and Amirov
Dance Theater, is a multi-faceted reflection of the complex cultural background of the Artistic
Director herself as well a diverse exhibition of the company members involved.
As the audience files into the space, they are witness to a room covered in thick,
translucent plastic, an apron, and a half-finished bottle of Ketel One vodka; a scene
reminiscent of the murderous Showtime series, Dexter and one that creates a vignette of items
whose relation to one another is bound to be an intricate one. In dance theatre, setting the
scene is of top priority, a feat accomplished by Amirov with sleek and simplistic grace.
The first act, The Coop, begins to unfold with six female-bodied humans appearing in
couples and on their own, their uniquely-patterned shirts and uniform pants calling to their
countries of origin and to their presumed newfound independence. They arrive to a world
where they must present invisible immigration passport marks on their wrists and clavicles and
mandatorily expose their threat-less, empty hands to customs after momentarily relieving them
of the weight of the suitcases they’ve managed to bring to their new home.
The dance that
springs from these bodies is thrust into the air with the same fury as the air-raid siren and red
flashing lights that cue it to begin. After a synchronous European club-scene rocks its way
across the stage, a torrent of tomatoes, hurled by the dancers at the plastic-covered wall,
leaves a scene of carnage along with the sweet smell of garden vegetables that lingers in the
air like the ring in ones ears after the alarm of a passing potential threat.
The Order of Pearls, another notable slice of time, blooms from all corners of the stage,
each dancer clad in beautifully-tailored burlap, backless tops and richly-colored, weighted
bustles of fabric. The choreography of this work is a mixture of classical ballet, modern, and
contact improvisation-inspired partner work that washes the audience with breaths of fresh,
billowing air, stirred up by the sweeping motions of the dancers’ movements. This is a work
that proves how satisfying motion can be when the costume and the dancer inform the
movement of one another.
CITIZENS OF HERE AND ELSEWHERE is a well-orchestrated and sensible work, with
each piece leading the audience to a different part of the physical world, and by proxy, to a
different time and space of Amirov’s psyche. The company is well-invested in the story they
weave and their commitment to their Artistic Director is evident. The work is also well-lit and
the present of the dance film a_SymMetrics was a lovely piece of technology set alongside a
romanesque, columned stage.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Brandon Kazen-Maddox