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Kathryn Posin Dance Company:  Voices of Bulgaria and America

Amar Ramasar and Megan Dickinson of Kathryn Posin Dance - photo by Lois Greenfield

                                     By R. Pikser

Both Kathryn Posin and Momchil Mladenov have worked extensively internationally and the quality of their work shows why. Mr. Mladenov, former principal dancer with the National Ballet of Bulgaria and the Suzanne Farrell Ballet has brought dance artists and companies back and forth between Bulgaria and the United States; Ms. Posin has choreographed around the world.  This too-short run at the 92nd Street Y showed several pieces from their ten year collaboration mounted on a group of technically deft dancers.  The program included three pieces attributed to Ms. Posin alone, and three pieces on which the two collaborated.

All the pieces had much complex movement and bore witness to a strong intellect at work: as many as four movement lines, as solos, duets, or trios interwove themselves across the stage space at any given moment.  In spite of the rapidity of the pointe work, the beats, and the changes of direction, everything was executed flawlessly, if rather coldly.  Thus the abstract pieces were the most successful.  Beyond the purely technical, Ymelia Garcia found other qualities to bring to her work; while Dimitri Kleioris’ presence focused the attention.  These two brought other possibilities to the consciousness.

Amar Ramasar partnering Megan Dickinson, with Amber Neff on one knee.   photo by Lois Greenfield.

In Ms. Posin’s 2010 piece “You Are (Wherever Your Thoughts Are),” composer Steve Reich used an English translation from 18th century Hasidic mystic, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov for his text.  This ballet was dramatic in intent, elegant in its simplicity, and once again technically clean.  However, though the choreography invited interpretation, the dancers did not exploit those possibilities.  Three women, Violeta Angelova, Miriam Ernest and Amer Neff, presumably dancing the thoughts of the male figure, danced by Boyko Dossev, looked as though they might want to devour him.  They nearly succeeded before he rose to overcome, or perhaps dominate, them.  The piece would have been much richer and more provocative if all four dancers had decided what their relationship was; at the least, the three women needed to decide how to relate to the man.  Are they devourers?  Are they seducers? Are they both?  Are they dangerous?  Are they playful?  Many possibilities exist, but choices must be made if the performers are to enrich the work and to suggest its subtleties to the audience.

Ms. Posin’s premiere, “Fly Fly, My Sadness,” a commentary on the disconnectedness and isolation of young people these days, brilliantly contrasted the ultra-physical music of the Mongolian Tuvan Throat Singers Huun-Huur-Tu and the Bulgarian Voices Angelite to the dancers who, dressed as youngsters, related best through their cellphones, removed from one another’s physical beings.  Though they succeed momentarily in breaking free from the limits of their technology, putting down their phones and imagining themselves as grand and heroic figures, they quickly flee back to the tiny phones for reconfirmation of their selves and the comfort of the known.  In this work, Ms. Posin is as sharp as ever in making her social insights clear.

The least successful piece of the evening was the finale, “Buried Cities,” a kind of lament to a Bulgaria that is not happy.  Because of its scale and its ambition it had to close the evening, but it has some problems.  Dancers represent Sophia, the Thracian goddess of Wisdom (and the name of the capital city), each of the three colors of the Bulgarian flag, a messenger, and some very unhappy people listed in the program as The City.  The flag, thus Bulgaria, has fallen apart, we do not know why or under what circumstances, and Sophia tries, with little success, to unite it.  Where the denizens of The City fit in was not clear, and the pain, even anguish, of all concerned was too generalized for this reviewer to grasp what the problem was.  This ballet is more about the emotions than about the movement, but because the pain apparently experienced by the dancers was not specific, it was not convincing and did not draw one in.  The piece was a premiere and perhaps it needs some more consideration.

Kathryn Posin Dance Company:  Voices of Bulgaria and America
October 17th -19th 2014
1395 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY
Tickets $25 for evening performances, $10 for the noontime performance on Friday