Catching up again. My review of Paige Starling Sorvillo’s “thirty seven isolated events” in the Chronicle:
“Strange and wonderful how butoh, the post-World War II Japanese “dance of darkness,” is spawning such a strong new generation of artists here in San Francisco. The latest to emerge is Paige Starling Sorvillo, and if you didn’t know of her butoh background, you might not guess it immediately from “Thirty Seven Isolated Events,” which her company Blindsight premiered at CounterPULSE over the weekend as part of the San Francisco International Arts Festival.
Sorvillo keeps butoh’s methods – the existential intensity, the non-dancey, image-driven intentionality – and forgoes its stereotypical clawing hands and, as she aptly put it in a post-performance talk Friday, “gnarled faces.” The results are not yet as startlingly original or metaphorically provocative as some of her contemporaries, like Shinichi Iova-Koga and his company inkBoat, or Ledoh and his Salt Farm collective. But they show a great deal of promise.
The strongest elements of “Thirty Seven Isolated Events,” which continues this week, are the fully present performances. Tall, gamine Claire Willey gets the most stage time, along with punky, defiant Loren Robertson. In the work’s most memorable section, Willey turns away from the audience and roils the incredible musculature of her naked back, reaching around to paw herself, while a live video feed of this is projected onto Robertson, clothing her in an artificial second skin. In the central section, a flailing Sorvillo calls out 37 “events” as Robertson and Willey enact them: “No. 8: You fall forward, taking me with you”; “18: Hide under the table”; “No. 22: This is where we hear our own artificial breathing”; “28: I cannot see my own hands.”
The number of events refers to 37 degrees Celsius, the resting temperature of the human body. Tidy enough, but the metaphor doesn’t feel as though it has anywhere to go. ”
Click here for the full review.