Presented by Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery, 131 E. 10 St., NYC, Jan. 6-9.
At one point in "The Modesty of Icebergs," five dancers are sprawled on top of one another, intricately placed but looking too much like dead disaster victims. This could have been an appropriate ending, but Daniel Léveillé, the choreographer, chose instead to raise up his victims and plunge them again into a repetition of his limited phrases of movement.
Obviously, Léveillé believes costumes are a major hindrance to the absorption of his movement ideas; therefore, his four men and one woman appeared unadorned throughout the piece. Maguy Marin mounted "Babel Babel" many years ago on the BAM stage, a stunning piece with nude dancers in which she permitted a respectable amount of space between viewer and dancer. Léveillé's dancers were posed inches from the front row of viewers, with hairy posteriors in touchable distance. Not entirely appetizing, despite the Chopin background music faintly heard in the cavernous expanse of the Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church. Perhaps if his dancers were splendid specimens of anatomy and fitness, with sinew and tendon stretched and molded to perfection, or if the choreography had been structured with originality, the picture would have been an enticing one. Sadly, none of the above was available to lift this exercise in birthday suits near to any level of distinction.
The choreography consisted of about 10 moves. As at a gymnastic meet, the entrants (dancers) lined up at the back, waiting their turn to come forward and jump, curl up, lift a leg into a karate lunge, then scurry back to their place in line. This phraseology of movement went on and on. Jumping (thumps and thuds) seemed to be the preferred mode, though there were numerous lifts, sit jumps onto each others' shoulders with miraculous catches, and long blank stares from the dancers, who dared the viewer to look away. One viewer did cough excessively into a handkerchief, causing a stir of excitement and a reason to look away from the stage—a welcome relief.