Jane Franklin Dance presented three performance pieces last night at Dance Place: “Incidence,” “Nested, and “Wash Over You, Part 1.” As a whole, they are entitled See Between The Lines.
Rooted in movement, but working in collaboration with other media–sculpture, painting, animation, music–each piece sought a provocation. That provocation was decidedly not political or social; rather, that provocation was imaginary.
The most successful piece was the wildly whimsical “Wash Over You, Part 1.” The full work will premiere at Atlas INTERSECTIONS FESTIVAL 2016 this spring.
Franklin choreographed the piece as a series of photographs: dancers move from tableau to tableau, with each still image telling a new phase in the development of the story. And I use the term “story” loosely here, for even though narrative exists as a clear element in the choreography, the piece’s overall structure is far too impressionistic to rely on plot.
Three women, costumed in “suburban chic”, and possibly a man, go to the river, and the man disappears, leaving only his cologne. Before that happens, however, one of the women is put into a trunk. Then she gets out.
Stefanie Quinones Bass, Emily Crews, Sean Miller, Carrie Monger, Leslie Noble, and Amy Scaringe perform the piece, creating the various tableaux. Choreographer Jane Franklin also wrote text and created the video. Compositions were by David Shulman and Eva Schlegel.
Experiencing the world is key to the piece; the photographic style, like a life-story told in selfies, cannot help but exist in counterpoint to its message of lived experience.
“Wash Over You, Part 1” works so well because of that trunk, because of the video animation that accompanies the movement, and because the whimsy is so divinely fresh. Franklin even writes some “poetry” that accompanies the action and that plays on words and clichés turning them inside out and, thus, forcing us to “experience” them anew.
The evening opened with “Incidence,” which was dominated by an iron sculpture in three parts (created by Howard Connelly). Emily Crews, Sean Miller, Carrie Monger, Leslie Noble, and Amy Scaringe performed the piece, which consisted of a series of manipulations of the design and meaning of the sculpture.
As audience, we were free to experience their free-flowing reinterpretation of the sculpture’s design. Their discoveries became our discoveries. As in any voyage of discovery, narrative is simply what happens; meaning is how one might interpret the subsequent series of happenings.
Music was provided by Gina Biver (Text) and Alan Licht (“A New York Minute”).
“Nested,” the evening second piece, was not as successful as the other two. Projected upstage were a series of gorgeous visual art pieces by Rosemary Covey entitled A Day Goes By. Its nature scene ripe with greens and wild life shifts dramatically from close up to far away.
The company, dressed in petal-like costumes swirl on the stage in various configurations, but the force of their movement does not resonate. Without sculpture or trunk to give their movement context, the interplay with the audience fades. Our imaginations do not flare.
Jane Franklin’s choreography has a delightfully simple, yet imaginative root. At its best the audience can feel the discoveries the performers are making on stage. And with each of their discoveries, each member of the audience makes their own.
Running Time: One hour and 40 minutes, with an intermission.
Jane Franklin Dance performed on Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 8 pm and Sunday, November 15, 2015 at 4 pm at Dance Place – 3225 8th Street NE, Washington, DC. For future performances, go to their website.