Philadelphia Dance Projects Presents’ second weekend at the Performance Garage provided some unexpected links between dance in the past and the present.
The director of the PDP, Terry Fox, once was a key independent choreographer on Philadelphia’s modern dance scene. She showed two of her video “fillers” made with David Rosenberg for WHYY in 1980. In the first, “Pounding the Pavement,” Fox demonstrates a simple set of movements, turning her head right to left, rocking from the ball of the foot to the heel. She is standing at the corner of Kensington and Allegheny Avenues, and it doesn’t seem much like dance until you see nearby pedestrians doing it. Very catchy. Very cheeky.
It’s in the final piece that you see the evolution of that mad little exercise. When guests of the “Next Up” segment of the PDP series, Minneapolis dancer/choreographer Chris Yon and partner Taryn Griggs, dance in “The Very Unlikeliness (I’m Going to Kill You),” it looks a lot like those pedestrians. Only Yon and Griggs keep it up for at least 20 minutes in various permutations of pared-down walking and high-stepping, arms punching out in every direction, traveling the space while perfectly in rhythm with Yon’s sound mix. Very zippy.
Fox’s “Stolen Poem” was reinterpreted and performed by Alie Viditch. To text excerpted from the poem “Memorial Day,” by Anne Waldman and Ted Berrigan, her body arced and twisted, arms seeming to gesticulate wildly, but with great control. Very ironic.
Another dance maker active here in the ’70s and ’80s, Jano Cohen, had two pieces on the bill. Megan Mazarick lashed her body like a whip to Cohen’s “Wonder of Living Things,” with text read by Jeremy Nowak. Cohen’s lyrical 1981 “Snow Falling on Waves” was the most meditative piece of the evening. Seven women in vaguely Grecian-styled white tunics became ocean waves gently lapping at an elusive shoreline. Very calming.
The programs continue through next weekend with the world premiere of Lisa Kraus’ “Red Thread.”