Reviewed by Phyllis Goldman
Self-presented at The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Ave., NYC, Nov. 14-26.
After a quick reminder to the "Joyce Juniors" (ages 6-14 subscription audience) to grab a t-shirt after the performance, the curtain went up on the solo program created by Michael Moschen—a magical evening for both juniors and adults. Moschen is a dancer and a juggler, combining both flawlessly. He first appears as a lone figure on a darkened stage, kneeling beneath an overhead spot, smiling slightly to himself. His concentration is fixed on a mound of crystal balls, which he cradles gently in two hands. He begins to maneuver the balls, tipping them in and out of groupings, releasing one then the other, and each ball seems to know how far it may roll when released from the group. The process is captivating.
Moschen's props do his will as if they were his company members, while his strong dancer's body and turned-out legs stabilize whatever action he puts into motion. Large triangles and half-moon wooden structures obey his will as he balances balls of various colors against the sculptured set pieces. He gives them a gentle start and they run the perimeter of the huge semicircle and return to his bidding. Sometimes he bounces them against the slim walls of a large wooden triangle, creating a percussive beat. At one point, he even tap dances (while juggling), moving his feet in light rhythms as his eyes and hands maintain concentration on the balls, always moving them with exquisite timing. Dropping one occasionally only adds to his charm.
The exquisite musical score of David Van Tieghem rolls along behind Moschen's choreography, engaging each "trick" with a tonal quality that complements it. The lighting design, beautifully carried out by David Feldman, is the icing on the cake—sweetly compatible while accenting Moschen's intricate moves. The collaboration works like a charm. It is no easy task to take hold of a solo program, one so intricate and original, but Moschen is a riveting performer.