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Creativity continuum
Molissa Fenley performs as guest of Hope Mohr at Theater Artaud
Rita Felciano, San Francisco Bay Guardian
March 9, 2010

DANCE Conceptual art and minimalism are not usually associated with dance. Yet the terms frequently swam into consciousness at last weekend's three choreographers program at Theater Artaud. Spare, rigorously crafted works by Hope Mohr, Molissa Fenley, and Yvonne Rainer made for an unusually satisfying evening of mostly pure dance. Mohr presented the program in the context of her company's "third home season: three generations." …

Hope turned the middle part of this so-very-welcome program over to Fenley, who has been making pristine, tightly built solos for more than 30 years. Mass Balance is her latest piece, designed for herself and a very long white pole.

Fenley moved little — a couple of pawing step here, slight turns of positions there. Most noticeable were her hands: they are gnarled but strong, with fingers that curl like roots that have grown around a foreign object. By the end of Mass, the pole was no longer a stranger. As she quietly held it with an outstretched arm, it became an extension of her body even as she got ready — but didn't — to let it go.

In her gray tunic and pants, Fenley had something of a priestess about her. Yet that thing in her hands talked a lot. It became a ballet barre, an oar, an offering, something that welcomed a caress, a challenge to be controlled, perhaps even wings. Even if you were not imagistically inclined, the beauty of Fenley's reserve and her mastery over time and space were enough. I'm not even sure she needed Cenk Ergun's electronic score.

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