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Johannes Weiland - 'One'

'Parietal Region,' 'One,' 'Corrosion,' 'Tomorrow'

The persistence of vision

by Jenai Cutcher

October 10, 2004 -- Diane von Furstenberg Theatre, New York City

Johannes Weiland could have been commenting on the audience’s experience of his own concert in his piece "Parietal Regions." Referring to the portions of the brain dealing with memory, "Parietal Region" opened his eponymous company’s concert, "one," at the Diane von Furstenberg Theatre.

Five dancers costumed in von Furstenberg's own maroon turtleneck creations occupied the vacuous white box theatre, dancing in, on, and around several white cubic structures meant to represent these particular brain spaces. Their various cut out shapes made it possible for the dancers to climb and hang on them, perch on top and watch the action below, and stand on their hands and prop their feet on the sides. At one point, Isadora Wolfe performed a lovely agitated solo framed by the largest box in the corner. Much of the choreography isolated the dancers from one another, each performing different movement in their own sphere. Occasionally, two people would encounter each other, sharing weight or a moment of unison

"One," a trio featuring the choreographer, Keith Sabado, and Gus Solomons, Jr., perhaps dealt with issues of mortality. This idea would manifest in Solomon’s separation from the other two, whether enclosed within their arms while standing in a line or remaining upright while Sabado and Weiland performed larger movement in and out of the floor. Standing stately in trousers and a button down shirt, Solomons moves simply and simply moves. His large, gentle hands travel up his arm and over his face as he stares over the heads of the audience.

Pairings were more common in "Corrosion," but the vocabulary and attitude closely resembled that in "Parietal Region." Maybe it was the fashion environment highlighting the group’s passivity towards one another and poutiness when they happened to confront the audience; or perhaps the amoebic, atmospheric digital music inspired a similar approach to movement in both works. The same could be said of "Tomorrow," but with the added element of wet clothes.  This piece did offer more variety in terms of physical energy and sound. Extra-long sleeves are fun to whip around, especially when they are heavy with water. These flailing actions gave phrases that could have been just as listless and mellow as before a new sense of desperation and lent some rhythm to the score with the smacks and snaps of wet fabric on body and floor.

Four successive pieces deep in the realm of the abstract were a bit much to take in one sitting, but the ultimate effect is worth it. It’s like looking at an Impressionist painting. In close proximity, one might merely see a bunch of similar blurs and swirls unable to be connected into some overriding structure of information. From a distance, however, the details converge into one general idea. The specifics of each piece in one tend to fade into one another over time, but the overall impression retained from the entire experience remains. Whether it’s a feeling, an idea, or some other abstraction, it hangs in your head just like a painting, right on a wall in the parietal regions.

Edited by Jeff.

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