Two Women Dancing: Julie Brette Adams and Kate Eberle at Santa Fe Playhouse, Sept.18, 2008
by Janet Eigner
The concert’s strongest after image was a lesson in anatomy: Kate Eberle’s tall, lithe, beautifully toned limbs, one segment at a time spotlighted, glowing, demonstrating how strength, direction and focus can hypnotize. Santa Fe Playhouse’s small theater, resulting in up-close seating, helps too: each audience member is able to see every rippling muscle holding its demi-arabesque and precision move.
Kudos to Two Women Dancing for reaching out to the choreographic talent and variety of styles that artists from Moving People Dance Santa Fe’s dancer-choreographers Curtis Uhlemann, Erica Gionfriddo and Echo Gustafson, who provided three of the program’s four premiers.
Especially in past years’ concerts, Adams has been the dancer to inhabit her movement, to connect body and emotion in a way that connects immediately with the audience. Both dancers perform with a fluid and disciplined grace. The delightful surprise this season is that in “Shift”, Eberle’s collaboration with Gustafson, not only did the movement have a dancerly coherence that moved the work beyond Eberle’s past performances, which has mainly resembled a sophisticated and fluid aerobics, but the work brought directly to the viewers, the spark of the inner-Eberle, so hidden in past work. The joy and strength she communicated in this work were definitely a “Shift.” Brava and more, please!
Adams presented the second in her powerful serial works about Frida Kahlo, “Frida’s Dream,” an entirely engrossing abstract telling of the joy, pain and transformation, possibly around her states of debilitating pain (she wears a confining torso brace) and childlessness (she cradles a bundled blanket.) Both Adams and the visual artist Margeaux, are credited, with music by Shulamit Ran.
The duo performed their collaborative 2005 work, “Dance Number 5”, in silence, darting from one spotlighted area on an otherwise dark stage, alternating solo and duo appearances onstage with strong, thrusting, yogic-influenced moves, deep breathing and ferocious focus. The two assumed their dramatic and powerful movements quickly or were already in the static pose once the next spotlight came up, then stayed in the spotlight while assuming other emphatic moves.
Uhleman choreographed the second section of another premier, “Pass the Salt,” and collaborated with Adams and Eberle on the third section, all to music by Patricia Mabee and Beastie Boys. The work used the duos’ modern cum martial arts cum aerobic influence to produce a lot of action that didn’t build or cohere beyond the moves themselves.
Gionfriddo’s “Perseguir (To Pursue/Chase)” with Jerome Begin’s music employed MPDSF’s signature non-stop action, loaded with balletic-jazz-influenced contemporary movement, and a disciplined flinging of limbs.
These two generous women, Julie Brette Adams and Kate Eberle reduced the price of the Sept. 18th concert, and every seat was gratefully occupied.