Roberta Rothstein has both style and substance, as she demonstrated with her 11-member troupe, Momentum Dance Theatre, at Dance Place on Saturday night. The style--jazz dance with elements of modern dance mixed in--dominated the program, allowing for an easy-to-watch summer evening.
"Bird Tracks" borrows its name and its demeanor from the saxophonist Charlie Parker. This trio featured the long, languid movements of Julia Novina and Rothstein's sharp, brisk attack. The two proved that opposites can get along, and, with the addition of Kim Curtis, the piece followed the music to a close.
"Pulling In, Letting Go," the only premiere, featured six women plus the musical duo Brazil '99. Their intentions were unclear, but the dancers skillfully met the choreographic demands, which included a dark opening section focusing on the C-curve of the torso, both slowly and in staccato. The later, lighter parts included a bright, carnival-like ensemble that made the most of the music duo's driving rhythms. "Reglamentos en Vanos," a duet for Rothstein and Curtis, exhibited a zany sensibility. In its upside-down tango for two mugging dancers who twitch and primp, bump and bow, Rothstein steals the scene with flowers and flags clamped between her teeth.
A performance piece that looks at the loaded issue of women and body image, "Thin" delivers outright laughs along with its neatly packaged message: Love yourself, love your body. In 11 sections, seven women use personal stories, compelling statistics and shocking celebrity quotes from the likes of Cindy Crawford and Sarah Ferguson to make their point. (A song poking fun at Calista "Ally McBeal" Flockhart's size-zero body elicited whoops of approval.) The cleverness continued with an ensemble song borrowing liberally from Bizet's "Carmen," red capes and all, but instead of love, these women sang of big breasts and fat thighs. Proudly round Jessie Baden offered a keen monologue filled with zingers. An angel-devil routine pitted Rothstein against a piece of chocolate cake. The finale allowed the women--thin and heavy, bosomy and flat-chested, tall and short--to join together and affirm their bodies and their spirits.