Green Chair Dance Group offers an exuberant 'Tandem Biking'

February 6, 2012

By Merilyn Jackson

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Throughout their show at the Annenberg's Harold Prince Theatre on Saturday night, Green Chair Dance Group displayed intellect and exuberance in Tandem Biking and Other Dangerous Pastimes for Two. Its three dancers, Sarah Gladwin Camp, Hannah de Keijzer, and Gregory Holt, sustained a high level of gutsy, risk-taking antics, halting only periodically to "explain" what they were doing, or about to do.

Founded in 2004, Green Chair is the only dance group to grow out of Swarthmore College's dance department and is now supported in part by its theater department. It is based at the Mascher Space Cooperative in Kensington. The three artistic codirectors produced Tandem Biking in collaboration with actor/director Alex Torra. Part of Annenberg's "By Local" series, Saturday night's show was packed, making the laughter and spontaneous applause all the more fun.

Holt strolls out to what could be an ordinary living room, with a neatly arranged backdrop of radiator covers topped with household bric-a-brac, and taps a computer that begins to play New Zealand composer Rosie Langabeer's sound design. There ensues a frenzy of dance that is not dance - at least it's certainly not traditional-looking dance phrases, even from a contemporary dance viewpoint. Various triangulations of the body - both arms on the floor, one leg out in carelessly torqued, ankle-hanging arabesques; other triangles made by the three as they connect and disconnect.

Watching, you'd think this is stuff you and your friends could do in your living room. Think again. It took these pros years to make it look so simple and playful. There's wrestling, and finger wiggling, and Holt galumphing around flapping his arms, a wacky signature of his. Camp lies on her back, legs extended up, de Keijzer (who was so fascinating to watch as the chimpanzee in Marcel Williams Foster's Sonso, Simians & Pierrot last year) bends over and Holt clambers over her, resting his chest on the soles of Camp's flexed feet to create a perfectly square architecture.

They strip out of their hipster duds to beachwear and do beachy poses. They leave while Langabeer's gently atmospheric music keeps us company as we wait for them to return, this time in multiple layers of winter outerwear; they do beachy poses in them, too. Stripping it all off to reveal themselves in skintight gold lam, they dance with wild abandon, and then in slow motion, eyes often locked with the audience. You ought to see me laughing as I write this. Better yet, see Green Chair.

The Philadelphia Inquirer