Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company’s Timebomb
This past weekend, Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company celebrated its 10th anniversary with the premiere of Timebomb at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. Chairs for the audience were set up in a circle around the perimeter of the large, high-ceilinged studio. In place of program notes or biographies of the four dancers, including Gwirtzman, the program had a list of things the audience could do while waiting for the show to start. Suggestions such as “decide not to think about your day”, “consider the seat holding your legs and your spine”, and “stop thinking about time” were a welcomed respite at the end of a busy day.
Timebomb, however, left me feeling confused about what Gwirtzman was trying to convey. The piece starts as a solo for him that morphs into a duet with the wonderfully intense Stacy Martorana, and then becomes a quartet with Rachel Warren and Oren Bar-Noy. The dancers eye each other as they shift about the space and interact with one another – sometimes violently, at other times more tenderly – but they never make eye contact with the audience. Only Martorana is believable, remaining completely focused and engaged throughout the piece while the others seem to be further detached and self-conscious about the fact that they are being watched. The percussive score by Shawn Balthazor and Jeff Story ranges from explosive to quietly hesitant, contributing to the dancers’ emotionally distinct interactions. Tension builds but is never resolved, creating a rather unsatisfying close to the piece. There are a few explosive moments in Timebomb, but the 50-minute piece loses its momentum and its ability to surprise.
Starting on January 10th, 2009, Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company will launch its online Commentary and Clip Series, which will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the company through video clips and commentary from the dancers. Check it out.