Friday, March 30, 2007

Spring Concert 2007

Pamela Trokanski, who has been entertaining Davis Audiences for over twenty years, is examining life, love, sex, relationships -- and voice mail.

The Pamela Trokanski Dance Theatre’s Spring Concert 2007 continues March 30, 31, and April 6 at 8 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center, 2720 Del Rio Place in Davis. The concert is performed by members of the theater (Caitlin Barale, Nicole Bell, Robin Carlson, Katy Lundgren, Bekah Shepard, Cindy Robinson and Trokanski herself) and members from “Third Stage,” Northern California’s only multi generational contemporary dance company. Maj Hapworth, Allegra Silberstein and Claire Finn join in on the second of three pieces.

The evening opens with a delightful (if overly long) look at voice mail hell and everyone in the audience will be able to relate to the relentless telephone sound (Hank Lawson is credited with “music,” though this isn’t exactly “music”) and with the recorded announcements from the disembodied operator, who wants to assure the dancers that their call is very important to her.

The piece is clever and funny and the robotic movements of the dancers match the mood perfectly, though it runs something like 16 minutes and the humor begins to wear thin at about 10 minutes.

The second piece is entitled “Singing Over Bones.” The original cast of dancers is joined by Claire Finn, with Hapworth and Silberstein playing the roles of old village women who gather wolf bones and sing over them, the legend being that as the songs build in intensity, the bones reconstitute, fill in with muscles skin and fur and the wolves run off in the direction of the forest. Those who make it to the trees are reborn into women, women who know where they come from and women who can laugh.

Lighting designer Myvanwy Morgan creates a mystical place for women to gather. The older women are circled by women in purple who dance in slow, sensuous movements, much like harem dancers. As the chorus and rhythm (music also by Hank Lawson) builds they are joined by the rest of the group, dressed in red, the lights become warmer and you feel as if you are watching a very special ritual, which is primitive, uniquely female, and reminiscent of drum circles.

After a brief intermission the original group is back with the premiere of “Come Naked, Bring Beer,” which examines the who, what, when, where and how of courtship, defined as “the process of selecting and attracting another for an intimate relationship such as love, sex, commitment, living together, marriage, and having children, or any combination of these. Courtship may last days, months, or even years, but some lovers skip courting altogether as in cases of (mutual) love at first sight, casual sex or arranged marriage.”

The sense of a “hunt” is depicted by the animal print added as sleeves to the original costume, sleeves which later extend to floor length and move as wings in describing courtship rituals and comparing them to bower birds.

The various little things that a woman is looking for a mate are described in intimate detail through music by Lawson, Crash Test Dummies, and They Might be Giants. Guest Dancer Bill Tuck joins the women as “Superman,” and the piece concludes with the realization that a man’s wants and desires are much less complex and much more basic.

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