At Choreographers’ Showcase, solos take center stage, uneasily


Jason Garcia Ignacio who will be performing his piece “Ink Spilled in Cursive” in this year’s showcase. (Paul Gordon Emerson)
January 27, 2013

In some ways, a solo is the simplest kind of dance to construct: There are no inter-character relationships to build and it demands nothing in the way of synchronicity or cohesion.

But in other ways, it is exceedingly difficult. The choreographer must vest the meaning of the dance in just one person, and that leaves little room for error in the crafting of both movement and persona.

At the Saturday afternoon performance of the 30th Annual Choreographers’ Showcase at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, four of the event’s six artists presented solo works, with mixed levels of success.

The most satisfying effort was Vanessa Owen’s “Curb,” which worked because Owen so fully and instinctively embodied her character. With her darting eyes and reflexive movement, she had the anxiety of prey that knows it is being stalked by a predator.

For “Ink Spilled in Cursive,” Jason Garcia Ignacio smartly reined in any flashiness to deliver something more restrained and subtle. (Anyone who has seen him perform with CityDance Ensemble or Company E knows he can be a firecracker of a dancer.) The dance is about a young man making his mark, a happening that Ignacio symbolized by wiping his body with paint and then rolling and writhing on a paper canvas. It’s a striking image, but it takes a bit too long to arrive at it.

The two other solos, Connor Voss’s “Corroded” and Junichi Fukuda’s “Eclosion,” were finely danced, but the concepts weren’t as thoroughly developed.

“And Frolic,” Charli Brissey and Felix Cruz’s lighthearted, lip-syncing-themed duet, never seemed to find its footing. It wasn’t quite silly enough to be funny and wasn’t quite tender enough to be poignant.

The show’s final work, Robert J. Priore’s “Going Nowhere, Getting Somewhere,” was propelled by an electronic score with a seriously thumping downbeat. The fast-paced ensemble work was a continuous tide of fearless jumps, frantic runs and kicks that soared high and quickly snapped shut. The combination of a large cast, forceful music and expansive movement could have easily resulted in a dance that was over-the-top and unfocused. But Priore managed to establish a sense of order among all these elements, an impressive feat for a budding choreographer.

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economic news.
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