Sex is really, really boring. That's the message garnered from "Costumes by God," the new evening-length experimental dance piece about eroticism created by the Brazilian choreographers Andrea Lerner and Rosane Chamecki. Performed by their four-member company, ChameckiLerner, plus three guest artists, the work, presented at Dance Theater Workshop, opens seductively but then quickly evolves into nothing but the tedious repetition of awkward actions representing sexual practices.
Upon entering the theatre, we discover a nude couple (Levi Gonzalez and Jennifer Kjos) center stage. They are striking individual poses reminiscent of figures in great works of art. Though the eye-catching geometric tapestry of forms, curves, and angles created by their body shapes makes for a mesmerizing preshow, the hourlong dance that follows is unbearably dull. Executed by four clothed performers (Luciana Achugar, Maria Hassabi, Michael Portnoy, and Jeremy Wade), its choreography consists of disconnected blips of movement demonstrating masturbatory moves, orgasmic vibrations, and an array of sucking, licking, and pelvic thrusting motions. The dancing is performed with a dispassionate boredom that makes one wonder why anyone would want to engage in such activity. Sometimes the dancers crawl around on their hands and knees, making animalistic hissing or growling sounds. Periodically, a samba dancer (Fernanda Meyer) wearing a big feather headdress shimmies across the stage, simply, it seems, as a reminder that it was the atmosphere of Brazil's Carnaval celebration, with its wild sexual chaos, that purportedly inspired the making of "Costumes by God."
Despite the choreographers' intention to explore a spectrum of erotic energies, they wound up stuck within an unimaginative, severely limited movement vocabulary that was never imbued with, nor grew to be evocative of, any pleasurable or titillating feelings. We'd rather just roll over and go to sleep.