Addison — More coffee. Please.
Well, there was plenty of it—figuratively speaking—in the opening work of imPULSE Dance Project’s performance on July 16 at Addison Theatre Centre, called "My Beating Heart."
In Let’s Sunset That, nine weary office workers spend their day in mind-numbing work, stuck in neat rows of chairs. Coffee keeps them alert, and nevermind that it leads to spasmodic jerks. To emphasize the sameness of their routine, all are clad alike in white shirts, black ties and black pants and have their hair pulled back in a tight bun. While there was something 1950’s-The-Man-in-the-Gray-Flannel-Suit-about it—who wears ties and button-down shirts anymore?—obviously the best ways to emphasize sameness are attire and an all-male workforce (played by women).
To keep things lively, workers move chairs, stack coffee cups, slump, flop, jitter and swing arms. In a nice touch, the movement picks up the three different renditions of the song “(Getting Some) Fun Out of Life,” slow and drowsy at first, and agitated at the end.
As a take on drudgery and conformity, Let’s Sunset That is rather tame, making the point early on and offering no surprises. The dancers are Ali Cass, Rachael Clark, Hannah Guidry, Kristen Hodges, Audrey Kennedy, Krista Langford, Jackie Millan, Anastasia Waters and Ashanti Williams.
Artistic director Anastasia Waters choreographed Let’s Sunset That as well as four other works; company member Krista Jennings Langford offered Flatango.
In Neither Here nor There Sandra Pudasini seems at odds with herself, stopping every once in a while, grimacing, turning abruptly, and standing with legs far apart, palms up.
In So You Want to Be a ___, seven dancers outfitted in purple, green, orange and red, fan out in neat rows that turn into circles, then lines again. Ms. Waters narrates Charles Bukowski’s poem, “So You Want to be a Writer,” prompting a lot of gestures. But what makes it work is how deftly Ms. Waters arranges groups in twos and threes or one against six.
Flatango is balletic and playful, set to Glen Koteche and Brooklyn Rider’s “Ping Pong Fumble Thaw” and performed by Ali Cass, Rachael Clark, Hannah Guidry and Ashanti Williams.
Events & Their Ripples is even more playful, with Kristen Hodges, Audrey Kennedy and Jackie Millan playing rock-paper-scissors, hop scotch, climbing over each over and pushing and shoving. The music—excerpts from “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Smells like Teen Spirit”—set the tone.
The best comes at the last: Omnipotence. Shafts of light illuminate a dancer or sometimes two, the tape of the music begins to lose momentum and becomes so much scratching, and the light goes out. This happens again and again, giving a brief hint on movement. It’s strange and poetic, like someone flipping photographs too fast to get a good look. And it this work Ms. Waters’ emphasis on shape and form rather than dynamic movement has its best effect.
» Margaret Putnam has been writing about dance since 1980, with works published by D Magazine, The Dallas Observer, The Dallas Times Herald, The Dallas Morning News, The New York Times, Playbill, Stagebill, Pointe Magazine and Dance Magazine.