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My review today in the Chronicle:
“Within minutes of the start of Janice Garrett & Dancers’ new “StringWreck,” one dancer has wrestled an actual violinist, precious instrument in hand, to the floor while another dancer is pulling the violist’s hair while he plays on. But that’s only the most flamboyant way the hourlong work, which opened Thursday and repeats tonight and Sunday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum, moves a step beyond most collaborations between dance and music.
The dance – a team effort of Garrett, fellow choreographer Charles Moulton and the Del Sol String Quartet – is a delight from start to finish. It takes what could have been a merely cute, contrived concept – dancers and musicians collide – and shapes from it a continually thoughtful, surprising and even touching journey.
Of course it helps that Garrett is one of this city’s most eloquent choreographers, capable of crafting exquisitely sculpted streams of movement for her angelic but never saccharine performers. But watching “StringWreck,” it’s not possible to separate Garrett’s William Blake-reminiscent lines from Moulton’s sense of structure and wit and the Del Sol String Quartet’s adventurous musicianship – and physicality. Witnessing the interplay, you get the feeling that, rather than writing a catchy grant proposal and working together in some preconceived way, these parties took the studio time to let their relationships, and their contributions, grow organically.
The piece breathes. Sometimes the musicians control the dancers, making them writhe as though possessed by dissonant drones, and sometimes the dancers control the musicians, hoisting them on their shoulders to rearrange them as they play. There is danger and tension in this breach – early on, the dancers take violins and stick them between their thighs, tiptoeing cartoonishly and thrusting them like phalluses at the audience seated on three sides, and you can’t help but think how much those instruments cost.
Often it’s as though the musical selections – everything from George Antheil to an Astor Piazzolla tango – are driving the dancers and musicians, like a spell, to showdown. During one frenzy, violinist Rick Shinozaki actually somersaults while eking out a few notes, and viola player Charlton Lee folds up and gets squashed like a bug by a strident Nol Simonse.”
Click here for the full review.