My review in the Chronicle:
“In a RAWdance performance, thighs work like switchblades, partners push and pull, and a leg lifted into a high, crotch-exposing extension practically becomes a fetish. The strength of this young, hip company on the rise is its distinct, muscular movement vocabulary. Its weakness is that co-founders and co-choreographers Wendy Rein and Ryan T. Smith don’t yet know what they have to say with it.
The best dances at the 4-year-old group’s first full home season, which repeats at CounterPULSE tonight, are the most abstract. In 2007’s “The Ties That Bound, Studies,” pairs of dancers dressed in unisex corsets manipulate each other like mechanical dolls to tinkling music-box sounds. In 2006’s “Drained,” a quartet zooms through each other’s trajectories and atop platforms like buzzing atoms before shouting out, “I’ve had enough!” Think of the style as jackknife ballet, the limbs slashing and slicing. The center of gravity is held high, and the legs turn in and turn out like swiveling robot parts, the shoulders often hunching above. It’s not an original aesthetic, but it’s a clean and compelling one, and Rein and Smith may yet do original things with it.
The problem arrives when RAWdance tries to get more representational – that is, to make dances whose meanings manifest in more than just the structure of the movement, dances that come closer to suggesting scenes from real life. “Fallout,” the work-in-progress premiere on this slate, needs deeper rethinking, not just expansion.”
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