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Now for the good news. Jim Self combines a quirky theatrical flair from a performance background with a physical precision from Cunningham in whose company he danced for three years. Although his dances look to be laid out within conceptual structures and with abstracted images, they are fleshed out with economical and expressive movement, flamboyant costumes, and witty props. Four examples: Uproots-'20s Expressionist solo for Self. Dressed in a Caligari-like costume, Self works with isolated actions in isolated body parts, mostly torso and semaphoric arm movements. There are spasms of quick movements and slow gestures reminiscent of Mercisms, but they are carried out with Self's own characteristic attitude of amused. 44 inner attention. A Domestic Interlude-'50s bedroom romp. Wearing pastel pink pajama outfits, Self and Ellen van Schuylenburch circle in a seductive mating dance, collide, then sink to the floor. After lying down for a while, van Schuylenburch rises, performs an invigorated solo, then Self rises and the action heats up to another collision/embrace, then fade out. A clock radio placed downstage gives both time and mood with its blue light digital numbers and low volume muzak. Marking Time-trio for two fauns and nymph. Self (yellow fishnet jumpsuit), van Schuylenburch (red dress with seashell designs), and Joel Luecht (blue unitard with skeleton painted on) are undefined but colorful, individualized characters in. an equally vague but energetic drama of surprising entrances and exits. Scraping Bottoms-another Expressionist /Dada Self solo. In a Schlemmer sharp-angled, bulky black suit, complete with baggy pants and top hat, Self shuffles around in a landscape of random objects. He pushes along a phone book with his feet, names body parts, pulls change out of his pockets and scatters it across the floor, punches on a cassette tape of distorted disco music, wanders in a slow-mo waddle, throws glitzy cushions on the floor, and falls down. A whimsical, absurdist sketch. Each of these dances makes a distinctive dramatic statement out of its assemblage of "found" elements. As dance, these works are less about movement invention than about the dramatic uses to which movement may be put. They are so theatrical in fact that one might quibble about a lack of kinetic push and shove-it's all very controlled . However, as theatre, Self's dances are vivid, often comical, and altogether original. Costumes by Frank Moore. John Howell Joel Hubaut, Joelle Leandre, Tamia; Une Idee en l'Air. Grommet Studio; St. Mark's Church (November). Une Idee en 1'Air (translation: "an idea in the air") was a remarkable series of performances and exhibitions by French artists, organized in France by Philippe Cazal and coordinated in New York by Jean Dupuy, a French performance artist who lives in New York, and Livet/Reichard, who made arrangements for performance and exhibition spaces. Throughout the month of November, approximately 27 French artists showed their work at what is a near- complete catalog of "alternative" art spaces: Artists Space, The Clocktower, Fashion Moda, Franklin Furnace, Grommet Art Studio, White Columns, Alternative Museum, Creative Time, and P.S. 1. The individual artists who hailed from all over France showed a vitality and idiosyncratic originality that suggests a real crossfertilization between New York and French performance sensibility. For example, the performance by Joelle Leandre, a talented bass player who displayed an affection for as well as knowledge of her instrument, contained aspects that seemed somehow quaint. She performed a piece called "Taxi" during which she read a text while playing the bass. Even though her voice took on musical sounds, the text remained an essentially literary element; however, she was a strong, commanding musician. Her more light-hearted, witty pieces (another involved her doing monotonous floor exercises , until her bass was pulled across the floor on a string, at which point she began screeching wildly; non-experimental music equals boring exercises/her own compositions equal radical, exciting work) contrasted with a more sober, concentrated focus on the instrument itself. She explored the bass, obtaining high sounds by playing harmonies below the bridge, plucking and bowing at the same time. She used a drumstick to get hollow percussion sounds, providing punctuation with hew voice. At...


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