To coincide with Stephen Petronio Company’s 30th anniversary season at the Joyce Theater (April 7 to 12), Petronio presented the second and final part of his two-part work “Locomotor/Non Locomotor.”
Like all of his works, each of his deeply talented dancers are featured in signature Petronio movement (big, wild and fast), plus movement that each of them mold into their own. The dancers are Davalois Fearon, Gino Grenek, Barrington Hinds, Jaqlin Medlock, Nicholas Sciscione, Emily Stone and Joshua Tuason with special guest Melissa Toogood. “Locomotor/Non Locomotor” is fast. It rips through the space; heads circle, legs and arms slice the air between numerous entrance and exits, and each dancer commands our eyes to follow, but which one?
In pairs, close and touching, or far across the stage, they exchange weight, retrograde sequences and attack Petronio’s geometrics with no time to think; they just go. Unlike the muted colors in “Locomotor,” Fearson dons bright blue in “Non Locomotor.” She is fearless, smooth and steadfast with every move as the sole woman, backed by three men (Grenek, Sciscione and Tuason). The men manipulate her limb by limb into wicked contortions and she handles it; she claims the spotlight to the end.
In complete contrast, the Judson-trained Petronio adds a throwback work, Merce Cunningham’s 1968 “RainForest,” where locomotion is fleeting. We are reminded of the patience it takes to see and fully absorb a Cunningham work; the takeaway is a peek into his process, so we have to slow down. All moving parts are visible in this full-on experience through a sound score that comes from everywhere while Andy Warhol’s Mylar balloons float from the stage to be whacked and directed by the audience.
On stage, the dancers sublimely embody Cunningham’s legacy moving ever so slowly as animals passing and connecting with or against each other. This presentation marks the first of a five-year project called “Bloodlines,” begun “to incorporate works by trailblazers of American postmodern dance into the company’s repertory and present them alongside new works by Petronio,” notes the release. More please!