Nejla Yatkin's tremendous range of physicality and emotion Saturday made clear she is enough of a choreographer to hold Dance Place's stage alone. In her five-year retrospective Yatkin danced three of her own solos, her dancing and conceptual designs broad enough to encompass juxtapositions and multiple characters.
"Echoes of Hope for Those Still on the Ground," inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke's poetry, chronicles a life, each development shimmering with transcendent spirituality. Yatkin conceives of her stage in a painterly way, and "Echoes' " opening is her best painting. Topless and crouched, Yatkin's muscled back rippled as though something were trying to escape from it; then she slowly proceeded upstage, relinquishing a set of feathered, white angel wings to the sky.
After a blackout, she reemerged, enveloped in a sheer, elastic shroud, struggling to birth, then crossed white material center stage to don a pink play dress. She jumped rope as the poet asked when childhood's innocent questions lead to the end of innocence.
The child matures, and Yatkin, dressed in a business suit, performed variations on a short solo, arching her pliable, angular body around and over a piano bench. Her shadow merged with the projected text as she crossed center stage again. She transformed into an old woman, smearing her face and hair with baby powder.
The lights dimmed as white feathers wafted above and powder streamed down her back, a magically perfect bookend to a piece that opened with a beautiful body framed by angel wings.
The program also included solos "After" and an excerpt from "Journey to the One, a Tango."
-- Clare Croft