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Review of Molissa Fenley at Alsager College, Crewe.

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Dance like music is almost always closer to mathematics than those outside the arts might suppose. A generous floor space provided the settings for last night’s recital at Alsager College dance studio - with crisp white floor markings providing the geometry from which Molissa Fenley was to pilot her solo dance exploration. But from the moment she took the stage I ceased to think too much about geometry.

Much solo dancing - like watching a fish - serves to lull. But these solo dances - like the rapid actions of a self-possessed scorpion - serve to stimulate and quicken. And Molissa Fenley has forged a perfect partnership with the urgent urban rhythms of Mark Freedman’s music. With only the simplest of costume changes, and equally simple lighting, this dancer from Nevada - dancing her own choreography - held an audience for an astonishing 76 minutes of solo dancing. If you could clear a space and set up the loudspeakers this show would still an audience in a township in Africa, a bazaar in the Orient, or a campus anywhere.

But perhaps her most remarkable achievement is that her dancing - which is athletic, rhythmic, simple but subtle, and heavenly long - transcends any audience expectations of how women are expected to dance and how men are expected to dance. She is, I thought, the first artist in dance I have seen to embody Virginia Woolf’s hopes - a  free standing independent woman artist. She is a mistress of her art.

 

Bill Harpe

 

 

 

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