Ingenuity evident in Curran's minimalist approach
By MOLLY GLENTZER
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle
Seán Curran's dances make you smile and not just when the choreography is funny. Watching his company's Houston debut at the Wortham Theater Center Friday was like sitting in warm sunshine on a park bench; sometimes that's all it takes to make you glad you're alive.
Other modern-dance companies may impress with the complexity of their steps or body-banging intensity, but Curran's genius is in his witty ingenuity. How else to describe the joy of Amadinda Dances, which tricks the eye through the simplest of devices: costumes that are white in front, black in back, with red sleeves. It's minimalist choreography in the spirit of Piet Mondrian.
The dance's steps are jauntily performed but never bouncey (think of gliding two-steppers doing folk dances or aerobic exercises). But steps are secondary to the patterns Curran builds with seven bodies, as lines of dancers alternate turning front to back or raising their arms. Midway through, there's a break in the music -- Tigger Benford's softly percussive score using a boatlike wooden instrument called an amadinda -- and the dancers, standing in silhouette, pull a costume switch. The women reverse their tops; the men reverse their pants. Now the stripes become a checkerboard. click for more