Friday, March 11, 2005

Tom & Susana Evert (Museum of Contemporary Art)

Tom & Susana Evert

Since 1986, when Tom and Susana Evert founded their dance company, they have been enveloping their audiences with dance that fits their mission of "enlightening and energizing the human spirit through the creation and performance of original dance/theatre works." What the Everts do is not done by others. Theirs is a personal approach to movement based on their own backgrounds and physiques.

In their recent performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, they held the audience's attention with six varied pieces.

"Bliss/The Conversation," saw the beautiful Susana, dressed in a filmy, flowing gown, sprightfully move to pleasant music in a state of bliss. Then Tom entered in a monk like robe and the dynamics changed. They interacted without touching, then touched, parted, conflicted and combined as one. The segment was both athletic and powerful, if not sometimes overly dramatic.

"Ego Act" was a solo piece in its Cleveland premiere. It was both choreographed and danced by Tom. In the center of the stage, holding two huge rubber band-like pieces of material connected to the top and bottom of the walls on both sides of the stage, he was the fulcrum of two huge triangles. Moving creatively against the strength of the bands he contorted his body while stretching the material. He interwove his body while standing on, being surrounded by, and finally being encompassed by the fabric. The entire exhausting exercise was done to shrill fingernails-on-the-blackboard music which increased the tension of the experience.

'Once More...Not" found Susana on the floor clothed in combat boots, a flack helmet and fatigue pants. After several rounds of firing an imaginary rifle, to the sounds of music by The Mars Volta and Squarepusher, she took us through the throughs of death, the stripping off of her clothing of war, and dancing in an out of body experience with a strand of prayer beads.

"True Water" is a sensual composition in which Susana writhes nearly naked on a mat in the center of the dance space. She does not rise during the entire piece, using her torso, not her legs as her dance medium. Her beautiful body moved in time to the music creating a sexual energy that, as the program indicated, "is a discipline that should be mastered by means of a fully responsible solitary exercise, without the physical, emotional, mental and physical factors that are introduced by entering into sexual activity with another."

"Olivido" (Oblivion) was a short duet creation which conveyed an interaction between two ordinary hispanic people. It was the slightest of the offerings.

The evening ended with "Satsange" a dance set to the music of Philip Glass and Ravi Shankar. It was a segment filled with harmony and joyfulness. It creatively developed the meaning of "satsang," Sanskrit for, "true or right relationship" and brought a very interesting evening of dance to a purposeful close.

The evening may have been somewhat flawed by people sitting in the rear of the performance space as neither the seating nor the floor was raked, so those seated beyond the second row had difficulty seeing the on-the-floor actions. In the future, MOCA might consider using a portable raised platform similar to the one used by Danceworks in their performances.