Abraham's newest work, Op. 1, featured six dancers in a stunning environment of videos (by Carrie Schneider) projected on a front scrim that periodically dissolved under skillfully varied lighting effects (by Dan Scully). The dancers, enclosed in an arena that occupied only the right two-thirds of the dancing space, assembled and dispersed, adopting one another's movement patterns and then leaving, to be replaced by others. As in Abraham's solo, the movement was spasmodic, with sudden changes from slow undulations to frantic flailings to sudden falls. They paired off in couples, briefly compatible or at odds, then separated again. As the last man arched down to the floor, some caged birds twittered on the scrim.
The company also performed a 40-minute version of Abraham's The Radio Show, which was choreographed as an hour-and-a-half work earlier this year. The piece still seemed long to me, using basically the same compositional tactics and movement ideas as the other pieces. A phrase would continue in progress as one dancer left and another joined in. A group of moving bodies would be counterpointed by another body standing still.
The dance was a tribute to two radio stations Abraham was fond of in his home town of Pittsburgh, and a lot of grainy rap and gospel music and call-in talk accompanied the dancing. Women dominated the work, especially the marvelous Rachelle Rafailedes and Amber Lee Parker, and there were some clear connections to black cultural iconography. But the dancing sequences, postmodernly, didn't seem to develop or change or point to an extended idea.
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