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Eryc Taylor Dance: “The Exhibit”

A stylish choreographer who favors style over content.

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Timothy Patterson (center) in a scene from Eryc Taylor’s “The Hunt”

Timothy Patterson (center) in a scene from Eryc Taylor’s “The Hunt”

Joel Benjamin

Joel Benjamin, Critic

 Eryc Taylor Dance’s The Exhibit at the charming Alchemical Theater Laboratory in Greenwich Village consisted of five short dances choreographed by Taylor—a suite of stylistically connected works which put Taylor’s seven tall, long-limbed dancers through their sinuous paces.

Mr. Taylor’s works were performed in a white-washed studio for a purposely small audience.  Stripped down, but effective lighting by Michael Potvin created mood.  The different scores, most electronically manipulated and eerily moody, were crisply presented by soundman Potvin, providing rich aural environments.  Except for the final work, the costumes consisted of skimpy two-piece outfits in black or beige for the women and similarly colored tight trunks for the men, showing off their slender physiques.

The first four works were so similar in movement content as to seem like sections of a single ballet.  “The Zone (Prelude)” to a score that varied from Mr. Taylor’s intoning the “Twilight Zone” opening spiel to Salomon Lerner’s droning “Vidrio,” pitted three dancers, Jessica Aronoff, Samuel Asher Kunzman and Timothy Patterson, against each other in lithe movements that included leg lifts, crouches, lots of upper body torque and big arm gestures.  They seemed to be sneaking around on a runway.  Each had solos, but came together in unison posing as the lights turned dramatically red.

“Lumen,” to music by Freida Abtan was a coolly sexual duet for Caroline Brethenoux and Mr. Kunzman.   The two had languid solos and joined together, drooping against each other, slowly moving their arms in reaching arcs.  The final pose resembled a Pietà.

In “The Box,” to a score by Salomon Lerner, Ms. Aronoff, Ms. Brethenoux and Jessica Featherson moved about tensely, their right hands in gloves, for some reason.   And again, solos coalesced into unison steps.

Jessica Featherson, Camille Workman and Jessica Arnoff in a scene from Eryc Taylor’s “The Box” (Photo credit: Handlebar Media)

Jessica Featherson, Camille Workman and Jessica Arnoff in a scene from Eryc Taylor’s “The Box” (Photo credit: Handlebar Media)

“The Time,” also to music by Mr. Lerner, was a solo for the very personable and stretchy Mr. Patterson who appeared to have what looked like blood stains on his chest.  He wore gloves and grabbed at his “wound,” spreading the color.  He grimaced, kept raising his arms in a V-shape, pulled his fingers to his mouth and showed off the pliability of his back.  Mr. Patterson acted like a prisoner escaping capture.

“The Hunt,” again to a score by Mr. Lerner, was a vaguely absurd ballet in which Mr. Patterson returned, this time as a colorful potentate holding several women in his sway.  Wearing a feathered headpiece and a stole-like knitted top, he led Ms. Aronoff, Ms. Brethenoux, Ms. Featherson and Camille Workman into solos and duets for his edification.  He herded them about, until he finally removed his headpiece to crown a new leader.  The music had a more earthy quality with violent drumming sounds that got more and more frenzied.

Each work had a “styling by” credit, evidence that Taylor is concerned with establishing a “look,” a “brand.”   The term styling also probably included the costuming, which was, as mentioned above, quite simple until the final work in which the more extravagant accessories helped tell the elusive tale which had a slightly misogynistic slant.

Mr. Taylor, who was the “stylist” on all works, shared this credit with Mr. Patterson and Andy Corsten.  Often the choreography looked like slow-motion Vogue-ing, with faces either glaring or emotion free.  It’s easy to see the appeal of his work which is sexy, exhibitionist, vaguely mysterious and undemanding to the eye or mind.   Mr. Taylor clearly has a vision and philosophy and sticks with it.

Eyrc Taylor Dance: The Exhibit (October 15-18, 2015)

Alchemical Theatre Laboratory, 104 West 14th Street, in Manhattan

For tickets, call 866-811-4111 or visit http://www.ovationtix.com

For more information, visit http://www.eryctaylordance.com

Running time: one hour with no intermission

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Joel Benjamin
About Joel Benjamin (286 Articles)
JOEL BENJAMIN was a child performer on Broadway and danced with leading modern dance and ballet companies. Joel has been attending theater, ballet and opera performances ever since childhood, becoming quite opinionated over the years. He was the founder and artistic director of the American Chamber Ballet and subsequently was massage therapist to the stars before becoming a reviewer and memoirist. He is a member of the Outer Critics Circle.

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