Friday, August 24, 2007

Reggie Wilson & Andreya Ouamba's "Accounting for Customs"

Reggie WilsonThis morning, I thought to myself, I rarely avail myself of free cultural activities in the area, so when I made sure to catch choreographers' Reggie Wilson's (at right, Nan Melville for the NYT) and Andréya Ouamba's "Accounting for Customs," a dance piece that Wilson and his company, Fist & Heel Performance Group, staged on the steps of the U.S. Custom House, which is at the tip of Bowling Green, in New York City's oldest neighborhood.

According to Claudia LaRocca's writeup in the New York Times, this is Wilson's second site-specific piece in New York, and a prelude to a larger project with the Congolese Ouamba, "The Good Dance (Congo-Congo and his search for the Good Dance)," which will premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2009. Alistair Macauley's laudatory review is here. I would concur with all his points: Wilson and Ouamba used the stairs to great use, literalizing the ideas and metaphors of and relations between the body, custom(s) and the Custom House (an old seat of government and colonial power); the dancing felt fresh, particularly when the dancers engaged in synchronized moves that broke up into asychronous but mirrored passages; and the music selection really underlined the dances, especially the final piece, which sounded (to my ears) like high-life. The piece, really was too brief, though. As hot as it was today--and I was dead center in the sun's focus--I could have stood out for at least another 15 minutes to half hour watching these dancers perform.

Here are some photos from the performance. (Blogger allows you to post videos now, but I didn't succeed in posting the one I took, so I'll keep trying.)

Reggie Wilson and his crew, at the mixing board.

Near the beginning of the dance, as the dancers rolled themselves up the stairs.

Massing at the bottom of the bannister.

More of the performance.

One of the dancers breaks the fourth wall and joins the audience for a few minutes.

Another dancer, en pointe.

Near the end of the piece, the dancers descending the stairs.

All of the dancers, and Ms. Ouamba, assembled for a bow.

Here's a short video clip of the performance that I originally tried to post via Blogger, but had to do via YouTube.

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