Kunst-Stoff and LEVYdance travel through violent legacies in a powerful double bill
Initially Our Body uses an epigrammatic, quasi-narrative structure, out of which bursts an increasingly physical flood of energy that borders on the violent. Drawing turbulent emotion and motion from Persian dance's curvy lines and gentle undulations seems like an act of foolish bravado. Yet Levy succeeds admirably. A charming dance for hands pays tribute to Middle Eastern and Asian traditions of using fingers as something more than the end of an arm.
The dancers (Aline Wachsmuth, Ali Schechter, Morgelyn Tenbeth Ward, and Bianca Cabrera) are credited with movement. Levy provides the direction and — no doubt — the drive. My one reservation about Our Body pertains to the writing scene in which Wachsmuth gives and denies written cues about her body's function. It didn't add enough to the piece's thrust.
The tempest starts slowly. Little tremors shake these women as they pass snippets of paper — gossip? memory? — to Wachsmuth, who becomes increasingly agitated. Putting heels on the barefoot dancers, Our Body hits high gear, sending the dancers down the runway, primping and posing, but with a decidedly aggressive note. When they begin tearing clothes off of each other, this is no mere catfight. It's anger, chaos, and violence at its most extreme, and it's frightening. Finally, stripped down with feathery snowflakes falling on them, the dancers awaken into a dream state. I couldn't decide whether Levy was sarcastic or lyrical.
KUNST-STOFF AND LEVYDANCE
Thurs/28–Sat/30, 8 p.m.; $15–$18
3153 17th St., SF