Koresh Dance Company, Philadelphia

Written by:
Lewis Whittington
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Koresh Dance Company

“Somewhere in Between” and “Benchtime Stories”
Choreographed by Roni Koresh
Suzanne Roberts Theatre
Oct. 31, 2010

Choreographer Roni Koresh has been moving more toward narrative and character-driven dance. Last year’s Evolution demonstrated how he avoids the pitfall of themed work. He was more ponderousness in last spring’s “Sense of Human,” where the broadness led to a retreat to many Koresh signatures.His fall programming at the Suzanne Roberts TheaterSomewhere in Between,” accents character and slowed-down choreography.

“Benchtime Stories” plays off Koresh’s device of scenarios around inanimate public objects. Stepping on the stage, Eric Bean and Micah Geyer are the two homeless souses of “The Bums,” a fine example of what Koresh can do as a character choreographer. It is set to accordion music by Shantel and the Bucovina Club Orkestar as punchdrunk as the pratfalls that twist into explosive layouts and dance acrobatics. Bean and Geyer just nail this type of material.

Bean is also the nerdy object of Alexis Viator’s goofy intentions as she throws herself at him in “The Bench.” Then, an anguished duet between Joe Cotler and Koresh MVP Melissa Rector; each have anguished, lovesick solos before they reconcile. Deep pliés devolve into avian and squirrelly shapes and emotional retreats in and around the bench. This has the look of a middle draft, but without doubt these dancers have chemistry.

“Somewhere in Between” is a very polished look at what is going to be a larger work. The opening statement, “Hidden Drives,” scored to global percussion by Mychael Danna, has the ensemble forming and reforming, segregated male-female, dressed in muslin tunics in a communal invocation that is in perpetual motion. It is followed by “Other Words” for the women; agitated at first, but just when you’ve had enough the light shifts, the air-punching stops and the ensemble unspools flowing phrases and beautiful lines.

Two vignettes are sketchy but lead to a centerpieceQuartet,” with deep trance music of Michal Jacaszek, which propels this work (while begging for expansion). Danced by Cotler, Geyer, Viator and Asya Zlatina, the two duets have gorgeous partnering and moments of grotesque beauty. For Koresh, in an adagio choreographic stream he continues to tap with great results, there is no hint of a narrative, just dark/light movement impulse, a through line in this whole piece.

Two sections reference work by Koresh’s Batsheva Dance chum, Ohad Narahin — a section with women dancing to the repeated refrain of a poem and a company hard-back chair ensemble— had just as much, if not more, invention. “Time” danced by Rector and Fang-Ju Chou Gant, scored to Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 andante and clock sounds, casts them as marionette dancers with lifeless limbs next to airy counterpoint patterns.

The other standout section is the mysterious trio with Bean, Shannon Bramham and Jessica Daley called “Dusk.” Wearing opaque black Samarai outfits, they are eventually joined by the rest of the company, similarly garbed, who all start to stalk the stage in forward-leaning demi-relevé, arms flaying and heads craning. Call them Koresh-esouris.

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