"Authentic movement" is a term that is bandied about in modern dance circles to describe movement that follows the natural structure of the body. This style, a byproduct of the body therapies movement, is showing up as choreography employing loose and flowing movement in a monotonic dynamic range.
At its best, it achieves a new definition of virtuosity; its practitioners work with gravity rather than against it. More often, however, the esthetic becomes an end in itself, resulting in choreography so liquid and amorphous that it becomes difficult for the viewer to retain a sense of focus.
"Authentic movement" is how Ann Ross and Cid Dyjak describe the work of Making Tracks, their Old Town, Maine, company, which made its Washington debut this weekend as the fourth offering in the Dance Coalition series at St. James Church. The work they showed was rich in the breathy ease and weighty flow of this style, but it was also fraught with the pitfalls common to the genre in its lack of sharp definitions and dearth of variety of dynamic interest.
This was the case in Dyjak's "Dune," with its soft and languid gestures, which fused for the viewer into a sort of narcotic haze. More animated were Dyjak's "The Jukie's Ball" and "Cross the Heartland." In "Heartland" the dancers' extremities led them into vigorous rolls, falls and slides; still, the dance seemed more interesting to perform than to watch.
The more successful aspect of the company's work lay in its attention to theatricality. One of the more effective pieces, "Tubes," contained, in fact, only quiet stepping. Illuminated by flashlights, Ross and Dyjak created haunting, siren-like whistles by swinging lengths of tubing at various speeds.
Voice was used -- in monologue, broken dialogue, song and chanting -- to particularly witty effect. In Dyjak and Ross' "Young Americans," the dancers told of the annoyances and irritations of cohabitation. In his "Plug It In and See If It Works," Dyjak intoned a nonsense song to evoke an offbeat atmosphere. "The Mr. Potato Head Diet," choreographed by the company, used the trumpery of anthropomorphizing a Mr. Potato Head toy to comment wryly on the current health and fitness craze.