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Dance Review

I Don't Have a Title Yet!

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I Don't Have a Title Yet!
Photo Source: Rodney Zagury
Prosaically choreographed by Regina Nejman, performed by four lackluster dancers, and set to a forgettable hodgepodge of recorded musical selections interspersed with idiotic text spoken live by the performers, "I Don't Have a Title Yet!" is perplexing. The 55-minute dance piece opens with a lone woman on stage; she very slowly lifts her arm out to the side and overhead and then grabs a piece of her hair and pulls it upward. The movement is repeated, using the other arm. The other three dancers enter, and the foursome lines up facing the audience. They do ridiculous-looking stretchy movements, as if trying to get the kinks out of their stiff bodies. One woman breaks from the group and asks, "What are we dong here anyway?"

Nejman's piece is clearly about people's uncertainty concerning what they do, what they want, and what they should do. But these ideas are expressed through annoying monologues delivered in Valley Girl fashion. (Does anyone really still talk like that?) It is difficult to tell whether Nejman is making fun of such immaturity or asking us to seriously consider these "profound" questions.

No clues are to be garnered from her dorky choreographic vocabulary. The individual movements lack intention and are largely gestural, the kind of "throw it away" arm actions that begin with a strong impulse that sprays out into space and quickly dissipates. There's much skittering about on the toes with bent knees, sticking an elbow up next to the face, and jumping straight up and down for no apparent reason. The partner work involves lots of sharing weight and draping bodies atop one another and sometimes appears inspired by various forms of social dance, yet it is gracelessly executed and highly unoriginal, often resembling what one might see in a beginners' contact-improv class.

Is Nejman's clumsy, pointless work an expression of the confused state of young people today, or is it just awkward, meaningless choreography? Is the artless partnering a comment on personal relationships, or is it just bad dancing? I honestly don't know.

Presented by Theater for the New City as part of the Dream Up Festival at Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave., NYC. Aug. 14–21. Tue. and Thu., 7 p.m.; Sat., 2 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m. (212) 868-4444 or www.smarttix.com.

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