Enter Clancy world. It's an endless pas de deux, trois, quatre, cinq and six conjured up in mists and shadows by wizard of invention Adrienne Clancy. Saturday at Dance Place, the two-year-old, six-member ClancyWorks Dance Company reminded us why this former Liz Lerman devotee was so deserving of last year's Metro DC Dance Award for emerging choreographer.
Her work is visually striking. A concrete wall is lit so brightly it looks like an overexposed photo. Lights cut diagonally through a haze, giving the stage unnatural depth. Gestures distill thoughts. At the heart of her vision is that endless partnering that creates, in her own words, "an environment of mutual respect."
Dancers must focus on each other, projecting an enchanting quality of selflessness. The program premiered Clancy's newest projection of the images in her brain, "Visual Play," set to music by Robbie Kinter and Marc Langelier. "Visual Play" is based on an engaging idea: "If chaos theory is correct, and the flap of a butterfly's wing could create a tornado on the other side of the world, then what storms do we create each time we blink an eye or take a step?" This is causality stretched to the nth degree and is a suitable inspiration for an artist who loves to create chains of physical causality between bodies.
Thankfully, Clancy keep chaos theory under control in its role as inspiration. The images she creates are simply reminiscent of the theme. Three figures launch a fourth into a heart-stopping swan dive to the arms of a couple standing at least five feet away. In a tour de force of unpredictable partnering, a woman stands with her partner's legs wrapped around her waist, then bends backward until her partner's airborne feet touch the floor. Finally, she slides through the gap between the planted legs. Last year, Clancy emerged as a choreographer of great promise. This year, she confirmed that promise. It will be exciting next year to see how that promise develops.
-- Pamela Squires