Alumna creates chaotic dance
Suchu Dance Company’s Impluvium parodies itself as a 60-minute tour-de-force of meaningless dancing and does a disservice to scattered moments of impressive technical skill and ability on the part of the performers.
While watching Impluvium, one would think surely something bound together the tedious doll-like techno odes and beautifully choreographed serenades to water bubbling through rocky creeks. Did the robotic movements comment on our mundane mass-produced culture? Did the dancers’ pause to trace out ripples with their hands glorify natural beauty? How long should one have to watch Rachel Hodos have a seizure on stage?
A conversation with artistic director Jennifer Wood revealed the hour of frenetic dancing had no specific theme or message, since she creates her performances by building together series of "dance phrases," without any narrative or thematic guidance.
Despite the tedium of watching 60 minutes of disjointed dancing, individual sets haunted me days after leaving the Barnevelder facility. In a poetic ode to water, dancers windmill across the stage and trace out paths of water trickling through rocky creeks. They saunter across the floor while unseen forces mercilessly tug apart their linked hands. These exquisite performances absolutely haunted me with their portrayal of nature’s ruthless forces and were only marred by the show’s lack of cohesion.
Additionally, a concluding solo by Dana Crawford set the stage ablaze with jumps and pirouettes. Crawford’s wonderfully vivacious performance honestly felt like a cool glass of water after wandering through Impluvium’s desert of lifeless pretentiousness.
The performers should be applauded for joining the audience for chitchat and wine almost immediately following 60 minutes of non-stop dancing on stage. The show features Cougar alumni Rachel Hodos, Corian Ellisor and Kristen Frankiewicz on stage, as well as alumnus Wood behind the scenes as director and composer of some of the show’s music, who are all a joy to speak to in the dining hall of the Barnevelder theater.
The Barnevelder facility itself boasts a ceiling of dangling lights that add a fun modern dimension to the show and beautifully ease the performance’s transition between different dancers and sets. The audio was never less than crystal-clear, letting me hear the techno’s riveting beats and the intricate trickles of water flowing through rocky shores.
However, I must rally for the Barnevelder Theater to invest in proper seating. Shoestring budget or not, an audience member will ask why he or she paid $16 for a ticket when the man of average height sitting in front of me blocked my view of the dancers from the middle of the second row.
Perhaps Impluvium could have set the stage on fire with a greater number of performers and more engaging dance moves. When the dancers interact with each other and elevate themselves above mechanized contrivances, the show is moving and quite poetic.