John Jasperse's one-hour dance piece, Fort Blossom Revisited, begins when an attractive, curly-haired, and completely nude white man walks calmly onstage and lies face down, hands at side. He remains that way for quite some time, then starts slithering cross-stage with a gorgeous, slow, and odd undulating motion. Three other dancers join him, carrying transparent inflatables. One dancer, another naked man, lies on top of him, with the inflatable between them. At some points the man on top just lies there. At other points, he humps the inflatable, which could be the world's largest, strangest condom; eventually, the inflatable deflates, and one man is on top of the other, with the transparent vinyl between them. The other two dancers, women dressed in red, carry shapeless orange inflatables that they lean on, caress, swing, roll, and otherwise interact with. For a large section of the piece, the women own stage right, which is white, while the men own stage left, which is black. The lighting is stark. The soundscape is largely shrill and repetitious. The movements are slow.
At some point, the two couples finally interact, and now the slowness spell is broken. The women smash the men with the inflatables. All four dancers throw the objects, do acrobatic moves. They dance. This section is playful and joyous and great fun.
Afterward, the four interlace their bodies, looking now like a zipper, now like a horizontal version of the cygnets in Swan Lake, now like a movement that might have been choreographed by Paul Taylor or David Parsons. All four dancers (Ben Asriel, Lindsay Clark, Erika Hand, and Burr Johnson) are wonderful.
|For those too young|
to know who Gumby is
I like to not read about dance pieces before I view them so I can see what they say to me. This piece says that men touching men is beautiful and that bodies can be great sources of joy. But I have to wonder if it had to take so long to do so. The artistry is too frequently outweighed by the tedium.
On the New York Live Arts website, it says, "the work invites audiences to examine contemporary notions of how we experience the body as both owners and spectators." Should I have gotten that? Perhaps. How much of this form of expression is the responsibility of the artist and how much is the responsibility of the audience?
(press ticket, F101)