Writer Madeleine L. Dale reviews Mapping, Attitude Magazine, Vol 26, No. 3
Inception to Exhibtion (ITE), an interdisciplinary arts organization, was founded in 2009 by Tiffany Rea-Fisher and Matthew Fisher. They serve as Artistic and Executive Directors, respectively. At the Broadway district’s Shetler Theatre from March 11-15, 2015, ITE held its second annual dance festival of works-in-progress, world premieres, and re-staged pieces, for one, two, and three dancers. While ITE is committed “to supporting groundbreaking emerging artists and helping them gain traction for their work,” the festival included some established choreographers, notably Daniel Gwirtzman and Francesca Harper.
Daniel Gwirtzman’s Mapping, to Stars on the Lid, explored today’s easily tracked comings and goings and asked, “Have we lost the journey for the destination, the process of discovery?” While Mr. Gwirtzman has set the piece on others more recently, he had not danced the solo since 2007. Created for a space that allowed the dancer to travel thirty-five feet, the metaphorical exploration “of leaving the grid, of getting lost, themes of limitation versus liberation” in a small black box theater, became literal. Tall, strong-boned, with defined musculature exposed by black tank and pants, Mr. Gwirtzman could not leap but a few inches or he would hit the lights. Of the re-staging process he said, “I’m a different person and a different body now.”
Mr. Gwirtzman was a personality-less Everyman whose methodical, crisp, clocklike movements were robotic. He progressed forward and backward with his arms shooting out or up, parallel to each other and stiff, in a manner markedly unlike the natural swing of arms when one walks. He repeatedly ended steps with a loud slap of fist into palm, the sound of wordless frustration. Determined, the stolid, unblinking character forged on in a consistent vocabulary. His only variation was to accelerate. This yielded short-lived, slightly softer, Tai Chi-like perturbations, until Mr. Gwirtzman dropped, prostrate, arms outstretched. The setting of his fingers one by considered one riveted him to the floor and the audience to him. On his belly, Mr. Gwirtzman bent his knees, raised his legs together, and leaned them slowly to one side, almost rolled over, but each time he made the effort, he fell back to the flat, face-down, position of defeat. How like us to keep trying the same hopeful, ineffective action, over and over.