Review: Against the Wall / Bartosik and Crossman share a program in a confined space

MAY 23, 2015

Kimberly Bartosik, Dylan Crossman, and Melissa Toogood all danced in Merce Cunningham’s company—Bartosik for nine years a few decades ago, Crossman and Toogood in the company that was finally disbanded in 2011. What perhaps should not surprise us is the emotional resonance and implications of drama that imbue the works that Bartosik and Crossman premiered on their shared program at Abrons Art Center (part of a series, Travelogues, curated by Laurie Uprichard), and which affect all the works by Bartosik that I’ve seen. After the three had lived through so many years of being warned that (despite some evidence) no stories were being told in a Cunningham dance and that the movement was the meaning, any urges toward narrative must have huddled in each one’s subconscious like a ticking time bomb.


Review: ‘Bound’ and ‘Ecsteriority4 (Part 2)’ Explore Confinement and Collision

MAY 21, 2015

The premise for Travelogues, a series at Abrons Arts Center, is simple and wide open: The curator Laurie Uprichard, formerly the director of Danspace Project and the Dublin Dance Festival, presents work that she has seen and admired, whether it’s from down the block or across the ocean.

For the second installment, which opened on Wednesday (the first was in January), she selected two New York choreographers, Kimberly Bartosik and Dylan Crossman, both former members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. While both employ the clarity of Cunningham technique, their more direct connection is that Mr. Crossman, a disarming performer, is one of Ms. Bartosik’s dancers. That means we had the pleasure of seeing him twice: in his own solo, “Bound,” and in Ms. Bartosik’s “Ecsteriority4 (Part 2),” along with Melissa Toogood (another Cunningham alum) and Marc Mann.

Both pieces, each a premiere, used the small dimensions of the Experimental Theater at Abrons Arts Center, which in less capable hands can feel cramped, to intriguing effect. “Bound” was in progress when the audience arrived, with Mr. Crossman sitting on a stool and a bulky contraption protruding from the back of his jacket. Strings radiated out from this curious apparatus — part costume, part installation — tethering him to the walls.

At the center of this asymmetrical web (designed by Hubert Lafore), Mr. Crossman could get tangled up or ignore the restraints or matter-of-factly remove or reconfigure them. He did all of the above, never making too much of potentially obvious metaphors. The strings could be traps — and they were, as he thrashed in the gap between two of them — or they could simply be lines in space, extending and intersecting the lines of the body.

“Bound” seemed like a loose collection of ideas left unresolved, perhaps intentionally. Ms. Bartosik offered the evening’s denser portion, dense in a wonderfully woozy, mysterious way. “Ecsteriority4 (Part 2)” (it will be joined by Part 1 in the 2016-17 season) starts with a blast of screeching sound and the three dancers hurtling themselves at the theater’s back wall: no building toward the act, just diving in.

That sense of struggle persists in full-throttle movement that fills the room, as the dancers enmesh and collide, often pinned down or stopped in their tracks. The initial noise uncompromisingly repeats, and is later replaced by a harsh-sounding wind. As in last year’s “You are my heat and glare,” Ms. Bartosik creates relationships that slip out from under themselves, transforming before you can name them. And why would you want to?

Review: New dances by Bartosik and Crossman at Abrons

MAY 21, 2015

In a human environment, propulsion--willed by the self or coerced by outside forces--means you're bound to stray through someone's airspace, run up against another body and do damage. Kimberly Bartosik creates that supercharged, contested, treacherous space in her world premiere ensemble, Ecsteriority4 (Part 2), a trio for Dylan Crossman, Melissa Toogood and Marc Mann.

Crossman and Toogood, like Bartosik, had distinguished careers with Merce Cunningham. Guyana-born Mann has his own illustrious history, including Principal and Soloist roles in the Martha Graham Dance Company and work with Bill T. Jones and Susan Marshall. While handsomely sleek, nimble in force and timing, these three performers share a reckless drive in Ecsteriority4 (Part 2). They are up for anything.