Experimental choreography at Dance Place was earnest — meaning not entirely successful

Correction: An earlier version of this review misidentified the performer who danced naked and also asked whether anyone from the audience would like to see a yoga dance or watch her make out with someone from the audience. It was Nicole Bindler, not Kelly Bond. This version has been corrected.


Gabrielle Revlock and Sean Rosswell in "i made this for you," choreographed by Gabrielle Revlock and Nicole Bindler. (Jano Cohen)

Deeming something well-meant is like saying, “You have potential.” It damns through lack of praise.

So the implication of saying that the evening of experimental choreography Saturday at Dance Place was earnest should be clear. The evening brought together Philadelphia-based choreographers Gabrielle Revlock and Nicole Bindler with D.C.-based performing artist Kelly Bond. 

Bindler and Revlock’s piece, “I made this for you,” asked, “What is dance?” An entertaining sequence with a hula hoop was followed by Bindler dancing naked and aimlessly for a really long time. Four “judges” — audience members who appeared to have been planted by the artists — then analyzed the work, tongue in cheek, using lofty terms like “performative loop” and pondering whether dance was about the phallus or Froot Loops.

“Raise your hand if you want to see Gabi do a yoga dance, or me make out with someone from the audience,” Bindler then asked.  Yoga dance won, but she decided they would do both. And they did. For a really long time. 

The work continued with snippets of diverse dance genres, including tap, African and Chinese. A guy twirled a wooden rifle, and a belly dancer balanced a sword on her head. At the end, audience members joined the cast to break out their own moves and celebrate dance, whatever it is.

Bond’s “Splitting the Difference” asked, “What would an anagram of my own body look like?” The program notes did little to explain the question or clarify why she  flapped her shirt up and down until she was exhausted or pulled in her stomach so hard that it went concave and she gasped for air. She did, however, succeed in transmitting a sense of those physical sensations to the spectators.

Squires is a freelance writer.

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