By Steve Sucato for CriticalDance.org
In celebration of Sidra Bell Dance New York’s 20th Anniversary Season, company Founder/Artistic Director/Choreographer Sidra Bell put together a program of eleven excerpts from her works for the company since its founding in 2001. The highlights show, dubbed IN|REP, presented by Mutual Dance Theatre, strung together those excerpts without pause or intermission to create a finely curated, deep dive into Bell’s aesthetic as a dancemaker.
With a principal concern in her works, she says, of the “shape of the body,” Bell’s signature movement style, while of today in appearance, was also akin to choreographer Merce Cunningham’s classical modern dance works in their approach to laser focusing the viewer’s attention on the dancers’ form, line, and technique. Bell’s excerpts for IN|REP leaned heavily in that direction and were devoid of jumps, leaps, lifts, and pirouettes.
The 65-minute program began with dancer Mio Ishikawa seated on a darkened stage with no side curtains and in spotlight. Her legs at her sides, she contorted her body back and forth to a harsh industrial soundscape that loudly declared its dominance over the piece. Four more dancers joined Ishikawa moving behind her along a diagonal shaft of light projected on the stage floor. The dancers outstretched and angled their arms and legs in a succession of dance poses looking like a moving sculpture.