I am obsessed with people tangled in and lost among trees, bamboo and tall grass.
So, when I saw pictures of Fang-Yi Sheu clinging to and tangled upside-down in a field of plastic blue reeds -- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon style -- in TimeOutNY (go to these sites for pix; dance theaters are very strict with trying to take pictures during a show), I knew I had to see the Ballet Tech / ManDanceProject (www.ballettech.org/mandance.html) performance of Eliot Feld's works at the Joyce Theater (www.joyce.org).
Along with the reed sequence mentioned above (an Isis story with a curious set of stations (of which the reeds were one): part descent into the Labyrinth, part exercise machines in a gym from Space-1999), several other images throughout the evening were stunning:
* the condensation of breath and body heat on the inside of a clinging transparent plastic sheet womb wrapped around a body struggling to push through.
* a long roll (50+ feet by 6 feet) of butcher-colored paper/plastic, crumpled and spilling forth, enveloping and obliterating the contours of a body-become-shambling heap.
* the glinting strobe effect of light bouncing off a large (5' diameter?) shallow silvery bowl and onto Fang-Yi's body as she tipped and rocked the bowl while dancing in it.
In the seat in front of me during the show, a person I took later to be the choreographer himself (? - people congratulated him afterwards) chatted up his guest during the show and, once, let out a obscenely loud "damn it! that's their cue to get off the stage!". Harrumph.
One more thing: the set change from the first to the second piece was done with the curtain up. The purposeful and disciplined striking of a set is a mesmerizing bit of choreography. I would love to make a piece consisting only of sets, flats, curious arbitrary ramps and objects being placed, raised and struck again and again, silently.