Molissa Fenley and Company

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Spring 2000 Warms Up
UNCHARTED TERRAIN
Deborah Jowitt, Village Voice
February 22, 2000



MOLISSA FENLEY
The Kitchen
Through February 19
TRIPLE PLAY DANCE
Symphony Spane
FOFWA D'OMOBILITE
SIMONE FORTI
Judson Chruch


Molissa Fenley's solos often seem to be about terrain: its impact on her spirit, the impression she leaves upon it. Maybe this is because she not only covers ground, she examines it and the space above. Where her early choreography was intensely repetitive, her mature work follows a winding trail with only a few reiterated landmarks.
Fenley is small, long-bodied, and strong. She dances with precision, but a lack of conventional fitness is part of her image--the athlete who thrives on ordeal. She doesn't so much lift a leg as swoop it up; angles and curves marry in her smooth, muscular adventures: one hip just out at the same time that her spine curls in. Working close to the earth, knees often bent, wrists flexed and pressing the air, she can look elfish, but--arms wreathing about her or floating upward-she also shows an appetite for soaring.
Her program feels too long by one dance. I was most engrossed by the beautiful new Weathering, performed in silence amid Merrill Wagner's leather and cloth strips--piled or hanging like strange garments. Fenley pauses often, basking on the floor, pensive gently elated. Provenance Unknown (1989) suggests spiritual uplift even more. Fenley increases speed and range as Philip Glass's music escalates. Written for piano, his Metamorphosis acquires a starting sensuality when played by Joan Jeanrenaud on the cello (part live, part taped).
The 1998 On the Other Ocean has been redesigned as a quartet for Kerry Ring, Paz Tanjuaquio, Heather Waldon, and Meg Wolfe. Their forays into conuterpoint enliven a tidal testure rendered slightly soporific by Davkd Behrman's sweet music. Foofwa d'Imobilite performed Island the first week. The incisiveness of his legs always astonishes me. His kicks and changes of direction as he prowls are like knife flicks countering the rich fullness with which he molds the air. Dancing beside Carol Hepper's gorgeous hanging panel of small iridescent slabs, to flutist Patty Mondon's virtuosic rendering of Harold Meltzer's score, and bathed in David Moodey's splendid lighting, he's a peacock in the wild.

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