Sarah Carlson and Pamela Vail Throw Something Striking into the 2009 Philadelphia Fringe MixSep 14th, 2009 | By Glynn | Category: Reviews
by Kathleen Glynn for The Dance Journal
On Friday, September 11th, and Saturday, September 12th, Sarah Carlson and Pamela Vail presented their choreographic work, Something Striking, at The Performance Garage. The show included solo, duet, and group pieces along with an array of artistic resources such as written text, film, and props.
Something Striking commenced with a solo choreographed and performed by Pamela Vail, entitled “Pulse/Apology”. Vail’s gorgeous solo in time with a poignant monologue by Brian Silberman focused on the beating of the human heart. The piece revealed a completely genuine and real aspect of humanity, centering on one’s connection of spirit and soul, mind and body. Vail effectively and consistently moved her hands and feet as one to enhance the idea of a pulsing heart. The artist also brilliantly choreographed and performed obvious elements of hesitation, which further exposed a natural and universal human figure. The second piece, a duet called “Loops That Lead Back, Eyes That See Differently” featured intricate partner work and rigorous movement executed by Lyndsey Vader and Cristin Van Horn and choreographed by Pamela Vail in collaboration with dancers. The relationship between Vader and Van Horn progressed from ignorance, to curiosity and exploration of one another, and finally to a tight bond. The duet seemed to highlight the way the two dancers accepted each other and work together despite any differences. Closing the first act was another solo by Pamela Vail, “Surfing The Synapses”. This piece was a humorous portrayal of Vail’s own creative process. Vail represented the universal artist in “Surfing The Synapses” by successfully painting an illogical pathway full of distractions, frustrations, glimpses of a vision, and finally a clear result. Vail maintained a humorous and light-hearted tone through her music selection, choreography, and costuming in this piece
The second half of Something Striking featured a fifty-minute piece, “Spider Dance”, choreographed by Sarah Carlson. This intriguing work was inspired by the already-spun web of cultural expectations and limitations, which humans often land in without much choice or control. Dancers Jeremy Arnold, Sarah Carlson, Christine Michener, Scott Schneider, and Ashley Taylor manipulated their bodies in a manner similar to spiders, creatures somewhat unaware, inquisitive, and humble. Through movement and pre-recorded film the performers picked and pulled at their bodies and faces as if they were scoping out the given instrument the same way a spider analyzes its web. “Spider Dancer” consisted of the dancers frequently molding in accordance to each other, shifting in and out of relationship roles, and changing dramatic clothing, clearly hinting towards ideas of conformity versus individuality. The piece was beautifully lit and the small webs on either upstage corner of the stage provided another layer of severity
Something Striking was a success in many ways; Vail and Carlson provided the audience with a great blend of moods, a wonderful movement vocabulary, and excellent entertainment.