Full Radius Dance: Gone Too Far This Time

There were four pieces on last night’s program by Full Radius Dance at 7 Stages, all choreographed by Douglas Scott. It included two rather moving pieces in the middle bookended by lighter works at the beginning and end. Overall, it was a pretty good show.

The first piece on the program was titled Unexpected. The idea that stuck in my head was that the six dancers, often moving in three sets of two, were like molecules of a substance that would move through the various states of matter, cycling from a not-quite resting state through an excited state before resetting back to the not-quite resting state. For me, this was the weakest piece on the program but it was still pretty ok.

Up next was a duet excerpted from a larger piece called Tenement. It was a beautiful and warm piece in which the dancers seemed to be pulling each other through an emotionally trying experience. I found myself much more engaged by this than the first piece on the program and thought it fairly touching.

After the first of two intermissions we were treated to my favorite piece of the evening, the premiere of Gone Too Far This Time. The piece was inspired by some of the final writings of Virginia Woolf and dealt with issues of mental illness and suicide. Excerpts from these writings were read by Carolyn Cooke, who, although not dancing, was integrated well into the performance on the stage. The choreography was at times subdued or even subsided at times to allow the words to sink in while at other times the dancers moved around her so that she was of the dance even if not dancing herself. Dancer McKenzie Beaverson served, more or less, as the character who was being narrated by Cooke, the vehicle for expressing the fear and despair from Woolf’s writing. Sometimes she was reacting directly to Cooke’s readings and, towards the end, even mirrored Cooke’s movements as she stooped to pick up stones to put into her pockets as Woolf did when she drowned herself. The drowning was represented twice, the first time as ideation a short way into the work and then a final time as actualization. In each, McKenzie stood on the back of another dancer as the remaining six flailed and writhed, slowly working their way up until the dancer was whelmed by their watery arms. It was as beautiful as it was tragic: both scenes were poignant, the first drawing me into the work emotionally and the second wrenching my heart.

The final piece, Bar Songs, was much more light hearted. In the setup, two of the dancers came out and called out a couple of imaginary reservations. One of those was “Clark, party of two.” Nobody responded. That happens to be my last name but it’s incredibly common and I was there alone so it didn’t even occur to me to respond. They ended up taking the two people sitting in front of me back to one of a few tables setup upstage to watch the show from there. In all honesty, I had a feeling that was going to be what happened so I wouldn’t have been excited to volunteer myself anyway since I was pretty certain that the piece was choreographed to be seen from the perspective of the audience. One of the two who went in my place seemed super tickled to have been back there, so I think that it worked out for the best.

The piece was pretty funny: basically a bunch of stylized bar scenes set to country music. Generally speaking, the one thing that I don’t like about Scott’s work is his selection in music, which tends towards the small corners of of the music world that I don’t really enjoy. It’s usually a minor flaw in my ability to appreciate his work but I really don’t like country music and each new song kind of grated on me at first. I was generally able to tune it out and just appreciate the silliness and physical humor in the production. After the heaviness of Gone Too Far This Time, it was a decent ending to the program.

Leave a Reply