Monday, November 25, 2002

Gina Gibney & Creatch/Company (Cleveland Public Theatre)

DANCE CLEVELAND at Cleveland Public Theatre works well

Dance Cleveland needs a place to present its smaller visiting companies. Cleveland Public Theatre has the Bolton Square Theatre in various stages of restoration. They can use the added income from someone using the facility. CPT’s space lends itself perfectly to dance. It allows the audience to be close to the action. It has excellent lighting and a very danceable floor area. Dance Cleveland and CPT have formed a working relationship that works well for both organizations.

The most recent cooperatively presented works were Gina Gibney Dance presenting 'TIME REMAINING' and Creatch/Company staging 'STUDY FOR A RESURRECTION.' The companies were an interesting contrast. Gibney’s all women's group works for grace and emotional resonance. Creatch’s male ensemble strives for gymnastic, intellectual and powerful achievement to explore and celebrate the sensibility and energy of men.

Gibney’s evening length project centered on the power of time and how it erodes and is renewed. Based on the concept that there is a time for every purpose, the dancers moved in synchronized patterns, blending flowing movements and costumes. The performers created visual images of support, separation and motion. It is interesting that there is kind of charisma that gently demands attention. These are not big, powerful, audience involving movements. She creates a balance between dance and stillness when the body's lines grab the eye and allows the viewer to fill in meaning. Gibney creates exquisite, sensitive choreography.

As one critic has put it, "Gina Gibney has established herself as a poet of modern dance today.” The CPT/Dance Cleveland sold-out audience was very appreciative of the quality of the dancing and the creative talent of the choreographer.

Creatch/Company, a six men ensemble, employs a form of movement entitled contact dance. It uses the body to paint relationships between people. STUDY FOR A RESURRECTION incorporates 13th to 16th century sacred music sung by a fine male ensemble who set the mood for the piece and over look and later entwine within the dancers to create a unit of music and dance.

The brotherhood of dancers creates images of bible stories, art works and AIDS influenced images. Dancing in loose fitting costumes, and sometimes in the nude using gossamer cloth to enhance the visual look of the human form, much like Michelangelo did in his paintings and sculputures, the dancers intertwined by moving underneath, on top of, wrapping around, pushing, rolling together, staring at, jumping and catching each other.

Capsule judgement: The performance was well received by the audience, but repeating the same movements and sounds for over an hour, in spite of the quality of the dancing and singing, created monotony. The program would have been stronger if another form of choreography was introduced to parallel the contact dance.