BodyVox matures both choreographically and conceptually with Water Bodies

October 29, 2009


Deni Krasel

City Paper

October 29, 2009

Part of getting older means losing our childish impulses. We gain wisdom and adopt more serious ways of dealing with whatever comes our way. So it is with BodyVox, a youthful dance company known for its abundant tomfoolery. But if Water Bodies is any indication, BodyVox is maturing, both choreographically and conceptually.

Sure, there are high jinks. "Metamorfishes" features a fantastical underwater duet where a man and woman portray courting Siamese fighting fish. "Fishers Are Men" is a quirky vignette about two guys befuddled by an unusual catch. "Kaleidoscope," a contemporary Busby Berkeley-inspired number, presents a colorful scene where dancers, both live and on film, perform synchronized stunts.

Yet certain works in the program are serious to the point of being somber. With the elegiac "S.O.S.," performers engage in stately dance that devolves into a turbulent sinking scenario (it's a haunting ode to passengers of the Titanic). "Serein" opens with abstract film and movement elements and gradually develops into more concrete representations, to enact a stirring contemplation on the visceral sensations of rain.

Whatever the mood — merry, dark or in-between — these scenes epitomize a visual cleverness that never lets up. BodyVox loves offbeat shapes, busy patterns and beautiful configurations.

But it's never just variety for the sake of it. It's obvious that co-artistic directors Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland are infinitely intrigued by monkeying around with juxtaposed limbs and bodies while simultaneously exploring the physics of movement — momentum, push-pull and the effects of gravity.

BodyVox inflects another layer by diving into the cerebral — even in the funny parts, which often verge on black comedy. There's plenty of deep thinking going on.