Dance

The PlayGround Goes With The Flow in 'My Ocean'

The ensemble, shown performing last year, proved energetic and cohesive at Dance Place on Sunday in Daniel Burkholder's
The ensemble, shown performing last year, proved energetic and cohesive at Dance Place on Sunday in Daniel Burkholder's "My Ocean Is Never Blue." (By Christian Stone Martin)
Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Dance Place was awash in energy Sunday night with choreographer Daniel Burkholder's "My Ocean Is Never Blue." His company of 18 dancers, aptly called the PlayGround, was remarkably cohesive, immersing itself in the improvisation-based work.

Liquid metaphor infused the company's movement throughout, punctuated by many small surprises. At one point the dancers were captured by a swell and then, one by one, thrown out by waves. In another moment, a whirlpool was formed by a trio of bodies swishing in languid embrace -- entangled, becoming organisms in a pond. A large group of women, with soft arms waving, evoked an elegant cluster of sea anemones, in a stunning display of ensemble work.

Water's role in human culture also provided inspiration, as when the company lined up arm-to-arm, like a rope in a swimming pool. Glasses of water were passed among the dancers, each taking sips -- a ritual communion. Less successful were the literal segments, such as a dancer being forced to drink polluted water or the orator lecturing on our lack of environmental stewardship.

Also on the program was the uncomfortable-looking "Duet for 3," which Burkholder performed with his wife, Andrea, whose first child is due in a few days. And there was "Unmapped," an oddly funny duet about male energy, featuring Burkholder and Jonathan Matis -- whose guitar strains guide the improvisation, ending with a power struggle over the musical instrument as if it were a remote control.

-- Barbara Allen


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