Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

October 21, 2011

Gallim Dance

UMass Fine Arts Center, Amherst, MA
by Emily List

Through the piece “Blush,” Artistic Director and Choreographer Andrea Miller created a body of work similar to Sharon Eyal’s choreography presented by Carte Blanche, the modern Norwegian dance company, at the 2011 Jacob’s Pillow gala.

Gallim Dance:  Blush
“Blush” also could be compared to the theatre game "Evolution" in which performers morph from the floor to more realized forms of expression. The only difference is that the Gallim choreography never evolved beyond primordial soup, though the six dancers executed their movements with precision and power. 

The ensemble’s center of gravity was very low, just above the pelvis, and much of the movement emanated from lunges and yoga-like child poses. Bodies were never really extended, but introverted and flexed. Attitudes took the place of arabesques and even grande jetes were performed with bent knees and flexed feet. The company rarely rose to the level of the wire of light tautly cutting horizontally across the stage. Did this represent humanity’s struggle to raise itself to a certain level of... morality?   Interpretations vary.

Visibility was one of the real struggles of the evening, but there were others. Lighting Designer Vincent Vigilante was too bold with his backlit footlights and flickering spotlights, which rendered the dancers as outlines and shadows rather than fully formed beings. And the music was an assault on the ears, providing a series of beats rather than melodies that would have given the ensemble a story line to follow through. 

The question on the minds of many audience members was: where was the partial nudity advertised in the program? Perhaps nude dancing was considered too blushworthy, at least for the culturally sensitive viewers of the Pioneer Valley.