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Henry Baumgartner

Tasty ''Delirium'' from Amanda Loulaki


Amanda Loulaki/Short Mean Lady
Delirium, or that taste in my mouth
Danspace Project
April 12–15, 2007 (reviewed 4/14)

By Henry Baumgartner

(left to right) Pedro Osorio, Amanda Loulaki, Carolyn Hall, and Rebecca Serrell. Photo by Joanna Seitz.

Amanda Loulaki's new piece at Danspace, ''Delirium, or that taste in my mouth,'' is the most interesting work I have yet seen from this choreographer. A quartet of excellent dancers make up the cast, including Loulaki herself and the astonishing Carolyn Hall. The performance takes place before a sort of draped screen shaped like a V (''visual context'' is credited to Joanna Seitz); at times the only light we have comes dimly through this screen, and in fact Kathy Kaufmann's lighting throughout is on the dark side. It is, however, always atmospheric, and it goes well with the slow but intense movement. The sound design, by Georgios Kontos, involves manipulation of music by Zoe Keating and Death in Vegas; I was particularly taken with a section early in the piece, based, as I understand, on a piece by Keating.

The work is dark and sensuous; it consists mainly of solos and duets performed as the rest of the dancers remain still or do something simple in the background. At times, though, the tensions between motionless bodies on stage become the focus of interest. We initially see the four performers standing or lying motionless in different parts of the stage, in various states of clothedness; one dancer finally starts to move a bit, and then another. Loulaki has a fairly sexually suggestive duet with Pedro Osorio, followed by some lovely, ecstatic stretching, and Rebecca Serrell provides some lovely moments, but it is a couple of solo passages by Hall that remain most strongly in my memory--she is standing still, beginning to stretch, moving into a slow, sinuous dance to static but lovely music, at one point crawling along the floor; or again, shaking violently while a potted tree is wheeled around her, the shaking evolving into lush but relaxed hip swinging.

Towards the end Hall scatters styrofoam pellets over the floor, and then kneels among them as we watch the muscles of her back sliding beneath the skin. Somehow she manages to make all this seem profound. I have long been a fan of Hall's--and it's not just me; she won a Bessie a few years ago--but for some reason her dancing struck me more forcefully on this occasion than it ever had before.


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