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Rajika Puri
Performance Reviews
Dance Theatre Workshop
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

Emio Greco

by Rajika Puri
April 29, 2003
Dance Theatre Workshop
219 West 19th Street
New York, NY 10011

Emio Greco

Emio Greco I PC in Dance Theater Workshop's "World Wide Works Series"

by Rajika Puri
April 24, 2003

The first thing that an audience is confronted with in Emio Greco I PC's Double Points: One is a loud thud accompanied by a square of light downstage centre. Then, on a darkened stage we see two streaks of light streaming towards us as on a runway. As the faint sounds of Ravel's Bolero are heard, we make out a slightly amorphous standing figure which reaches upwards with one arm. For a short while its hand flickers, dart-like, above the head and then is pulled down again.

Slowly the still, attentive, torso of Emio Greco is revealed as he offers his vibrant energy to the space. While the music is calm, his movements are relatively sparse. As the tension in the music heightens, however, so does that quality of 'flickering' first expressed by the hand reaching out. The whole body seems to alternatively burst with, and then confine, the energy within. At the same time there is fluidity to his movements as that energy streaks through the body successionally from fingertip to toe.

Photo by Richard Holstein

This is a 'speaking body' - one which holds us in the thrall of its oratory. Even if it is difficult to pinpoint the style of the movements and we feel that we are in the presence of a hitherto unknown language, the deep structures of Mr. Greco's grammar make visceral sense, and our bodies do understand him. The frenzied impulses of the body might emanate from deep within it, but there is a formal structure to them which take logical shape by the time they reach the surface and are transmitted to us across the space.

Double Points is a series of studies in which the collaborating creators, Italian choreographer Emio Greco and Dutch theater director Pieter C. Scholten (hence the company name Emio Greco I PC) say they "seek the confrontation with influences external to the body." The program notes focus on the conceptual structure that the creators seek to embody in the movements. We are thus made very aware that we are also watching a 'thinking' body. But in the end it is the ability to communicate those ideas non-verbally that makes their work so powerful. Lights, sound, set design as well as choreography and direction, are part of a singular creation in which each element is an integral part of the whole.

In Double Points: Two Mr. Greco is joined by Bertha Bermudez Pascal from Spain, a dancer whose energy, elegance and control over her body complement those of her partner. At first we see her alone, her back to the audience, as she makes simple but beautifully articulated movements of one foot. Soon they begin to work in synchrony, building on movements established in Double Points: One. As the piece develops they introduce movements reminiscent of different kinds of birds, from the swaying torso of an ostrich, to the preening of eagles. They even made me think of a pair of masked dancers from New Guinea imitating the strut of that strange bird-animal, the cassowary.

Emio Greco-Double Points
Photo by Richard Holstein

The dances are relentless in their pace and held energy. The dancers, too, do not let up on themselves, and the effect is mesmerizing. By the end of the piece, as the sound of fireworks exploding booms around the room and the dancers disappear, we remain with their vibrations - and the messages those vibrations carry - within us, still pondering over what have experienced.

This is powerful work which definitely impressed those 'in the know' from the dance world who made up a large part of the opening night audience.

(Double Points: One and Two replaced the originally scheduled Extra Dry due to a dancer's injury)

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