Choreographed and Directed by Robin Cantrell
Off Off Broadway, Dance
September 24-26, 2015
39 Wythe Avenue
by Jane Sato on 9.27.15
Indelible Dance presents The City of Seasons.
BOTTOM LINE: An immersive take on Vivaldi's score, The City of Seasons adds a fresh, modern look at classical dance and music in the round with high tech projections, stunning lights and ice cream.
Indelible Dance’s The City of Seasons is an immersive 2 hour long experience of the seasons in the round set to Vivaldi's Four Seasons. The audience was welcomed into the warehouse space with food and drink from each of the seasons. While white billowing curtains divided the space from the streets of Williamsburg, this spot felt fresh and full of possibility. The round stage of astroturf was surrounded by bleachers where onlookers could literally look into the eyes of the dancers. In this snowglobe of choreographer Robin Cantrell’s imagination, almost everything was precipitous from flower petals in spring, a sprinkler in summer, leaves in the fall and snow in winter. The show was full of beautiful dancing. It really felt like you were submerged in a fish tank with the movers, constantly changing their fronts, as all the elements of the seasons were cleared from the stage in succession. The piles of leaves and snow on the floor could have been part of an unfinished art project. At moments, it felt tedious to watch them sweep and strike the set, but it also served as a palate cleanser to each season.
In spring, the first season, women wearing grass mounds as skirts promenaded around the stage before settling into a circle. As their torsos disappeared, only their brightly gloved hands remained peering up like little worms. This mimicked and enhanced the vibrant music of the Vivaldi’s "Four Seasons" without any of the seriousness and snobbery that could be expected of balletic music. Cantrell appeared as a bee in yellow and black stripes and rose colored glasses dancing a spritely dance around them. This set the tone for humor and the unexpected.
Summer brings a chorus full of balletic dancers, artfully performing as if in a steamy sauna or playing at a beach. The phrase repeats and builds and shows Cantrell’s versatility with younger ballet dancers. Although the work is based off classical lines, you can see that her aesthetic is clearly specific and more contemporary. They roll on the floor and partner each other while building in intensity. During summer, miniature ice cream cones were passed around as the dancer's stood onstage eating popsicles. To conclude summer, a sumptuous duet was danced with a sprinkler continuously dousing the pair. It seemed to not achieve the dreamy effect that it might have since the dancers were incredibly skilled, but I wasn’t sure if it was pure dance or had the potential to be more emotionally rich. The dancers getting wet felt symbolic enough, but it might have been even stronger to see that expression a bit more.
Three women in chiffon skirts with leaves trailed in and this captured the cold, edgy feeling of fall perfectly. They felt like weeping willows with their long hair draping over their generous back bends and curved arms. Kyla Erner Alpst's lines were romantic and expansive in this section. The inevitable feeling of time passing crept in as a group picnicked and at points were dying to steal each others' sweaters. Sean Scantlebury performed a dramatic solo in a full suit of leaves. One the most stunning moments was a solo danced by Mira Cook in the winter season. Her delicate motions of the hand and arms were strikingly touching. On opening night, the projections that she was to interact with weren’t ready, but I can only imagine how beautiful that must have been. Cantrell has the talent to turn from quirky and playful to intellectual and tender at a moment’s notice. That is truly what makes this show such a joy to experience.
(Indelible Dance presents The City of Seasons played at 39 Wythe Avenue, from September 24-26, 2015. Performances were Thursday, Fridays and Saturday at 8PM. Tickets were $20 and were available at thecityofseasons.