Jo Tomalin

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Garrett + Moulton Company at ODC San Francisco


above: Gretchen LaWall and Michael Galloway in the world premiere Garrett + Moulton Productions’ new Zingo, to be performed December 14-16 at ODC Theater in San Francisco. Photo: RJ Muna

Haiou Wang and Nol Simonse in the world premiere Garrett + Moulton Productions’ new Zingo, December 14-16 at ODC Theater in San Francisco. Photo: RJ Muna

Garrett + Moulton Productions presented their 15th Anniversary Season, December 14-16, 2017 at ODC Theater, San Francisco. The program comprises three World Premiere pieces danced by the six-person company. All pieces are choreographed by Janice Garrett and Charles Moulton and together offer a fascinating program.

Opening the evening is Zingo, set to music by Taraf de Haïdouks and Erik Satie. Alternating with the lovely melodious Satie and effervescent Romanian folk music from Haïdouks the six company dancers (Caroline Czechowska, Michael Galloway, Gretchen LaWall, Nol Simonse, Haiou Wang, Michele Wong) perform a myriad of acrobatic dance sections in ever-changing combinations. The choreography is complex as the ensemble slices through the space with rhythmic turns and quirky lifts. There’s humor and subtle poetic movement amid the outstretched arms, deep bends, flexion, and counterbalance of extensions. Julienne Weston’s inventive costume design in red, black and white – with each dancer in a different variation are dazzling! Lighting design by David Robertson includes a rich red backdrop and later several spotlights moving across the front of the stage – a lovely visual scene with red petals gently dropping to the floor.

Carolina Czechowska and Gretchen LaWall in the world premiere Garrett + Moulton Productions’ new Zingo, December 14-16 at ODC Theater in San Francisco. Photo: RJ Muna

Next is The Mozart, set to Piano Sonatas and Variations by W.A. Mozart. Six dancers start in a circle en relevé linking arms in an elegant tableau looking inward. They melt into combinations performing lifts and intricate steps, sometimes in unison to the swift dramatic movement. The dancers show individual expression, graceful gestural moments and contemporary partnering. The movement is sculptural, pensive, rises and falls with flowing expansive arms and personality.

Michele Wong and Michael Galloway in the world premiere Garrett + Moulton Productions’ new Zingo, December 14-16 at ODC Theater in San Francisco. Photo: RJ Muna

The final piece is Chrystal Anniversary Ball Passing set to music by Matthew Pierce with the Company dancers and twelve guest artists. It’s a new variation based on prior pieces with more or less performers. Three rows of six wearing blue T shirts manipulate colorful balls by passing them very quickly to each other. They deftly exchange balls as the choreographic formation and organization becomes very complex. Balls go underhand, across heads, through outstretched arms and no one drops! It’s an outstanding achievement by everyone involved – and a wonderful way to end the program, it’s pure joy.

Garrett + Moulton is an exciting company producing innovative and original work. This production is vibrantly danced, choreographed and designed, I’m certainly looking forward to their next offering!

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Jo Tomalin, Ph.D. reviews Dance, Theatre & Physical Theatre Performances
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