Thank you so much for coming to see the performance at Dance Place! The responses have been very positive and I’m learning a lot from them. It was a fantastic experience to collaborate with a choreographer Sharon Mansur whom I have known for almost 10 years and have wanted to collaborate. I look forward to further collaboration with her in the future.
Sharon Mansur and Naoko Maeshiba perform at Dance Place
Monday, April 5, 2010; 6:00 PM
Sharon Mansur and Naoko Maeshiba are a natural fit to co-headline a performance: Each operates in an abstract realm where meaning is revealed by slow drip rather than steady stream. Both have movement styles that seem more rooted in individual impulse than in anything they learned from a technique class.
Their show at Dance Place on Saturday night opened with Mansur’s “semblance,” a work intended to be a reflection on women’s identity issues. From one dancer’s seizure-like collapse to the floor and another’s repeated episodes of hyperventilation, it was clear the work’s three main characters were struggling to cope with something. The supporting ensemble, sporting schoolgirl-like skirts and red canvas sneakers, represented conformity at its most stifling. However, those threads never came together to make a cohesive statement.
Mansur later performed an improvisational solo called “here/there . . . (for one)” that was a fine showcase for her light, delicate dancing but had an unsatisfying vagueness to it.
Maeshiba’s works were more successful, existing in dreamscapes that managed to be strikingly beautiful yet somewhat disturbing. In “Paraffin,” a dancer was surrounded by technicians in lab coats, and through a lighting trick involving an overhead projector, it appeared that her body was being covered in scribbles and graffiti. This and other scenes left a powerful emotional imprint by exposing the consequences of forgetting or disregarding someone’s humanity.
“Face of Another” shows how smart and thorough a choreographer Maeshiba is, as it has no linear narrative and yet somehow builds to a riveting climax. Through a collage of fluid gesture and intentionally unsteady hobbling, Maeshiba takes a journey to make sense of herself and her place in the world. It’s the kind of work that is so well-paced and so carefully crafted that the audience can comfortably get lost in it, completely entranced by the strange world she has created.
– Sarah Halzack