While he talks, David Appel often lets his energy vent into his hands. Last night, at Washinton Project for the Arts, his hands were clenched in front of him as he introduced "The Trail" by saying that he used to dance in a park before he had a studio here, and that the text and movement of this new solo referred to that time. Within the piece, he often rubbed his hands together when he spoke. And, "hands" was the last word of his flowery, fragmented, autobiographical narrative.
Appel told us where his park was situated, that he had political encounters on the street and that he'd once made love outdoors. Throughout the solo it was annoying that he revealed certain details but not others. Extremely satisfying, though, was the way he actually danced.
His is an incredible ability to move in quick succession at totally different energy levels. The movement in "The Trail" was based on reiterated jogging, skipping and leaping. At the beginning of "Crazy Love," a duet with Margot Perron, motion started with a limbering of the hands and grew to envelop the whole body, projecting into space and becoming highly complex. Yet, every phase was camera clear. ontrol was total.
Perron and Appel complement each other. She is frim and plants each step deliberately. He is small, fine boned, mercurial. She becomes breathless. He never seems to tire. At the end of their duet they lie down apart in a discreetly separated mutual slumber.
Appel's clothing, like his motions, is gymnastic. But, just as there is an awareness of color and cut in the choice of T-shirts and sweat pants, there is an ambience of seduction and benediciton in this dancing.
The program, which also includes "Nexus" for a trio of women and Appel, will be repeated tonight and tomorrow afternoon.