Please note: This article is published as an archive copy from Philadelphia City Paper. My City Paper is not affiliated with Philadelphia City Paper. Philadelphia City Paper was an alternative weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The last edition was published on October 8, 2015.

Material Girls
The Female Funny Fest might make you think, but it wants to make you laugh.
-Debra Auspitz

Brittle Women
-Susan Hagen

The Real Thing
-David Warner

Pal Around
-Steve Cohen

War on War
-Sam Adams

Sons Also Rises
-David Anthony Fox

Due Cause
-Frank Lewis

Delaware Divas
-David Shengold

October 31-November 6, 2002


Human, Nature

Add to the earth, wind, fire and water that dancer-choreographer Rebecca Malcolm-Naib celebrated in her piece Elemental one more element: community. Sixteen local dancers were invited by the artist to perform, and an audience of interested fellow pros showed up as well. None more welcome to see than Karen Bamonte, who came, from Italy no less, to share with one of her former dancers this “rite of passage.”

"Dirt" (earth) was Malcolm-Naib's brand-new section, and it really dished the stuff. An actual pile of it was right on stage for a threesome of Malcolm-Naib, Katharine Livingston and Darla Stanley to fiddle with, that is when they weren't reacting to a voice-over reminding them, and us, that we may frown on dirty magazines and pity dirt farmers, but we all love mud pies. The good dirt/bad dirt stuff worked best when the trio slathered mud packs on their faces -- dirt creating beauty and so on. There was nothing muddy about Malcolm-Naib's almost rollicking choreography, with its clean, lilting body lines and confident swirling interaction. "Dirt" was packed, perhaps too densely, with ideas and considerable wit. Yet Nixon, the moonwalk and even the grave aside, ultimately it was the turning, leaping forms of the three dancers that gave it meaning.

The other dance-theater section, "Firewatch," also was thick with competing ideas and stage business -- the best of which was the use of bright yellow "Fire Line Do Not Cross" tape. Dancers held the fire line to keep a romantic tangle under control, but it and other stories spilled out on both sides of the tape anyway -- and so the fire line was squared off to become a boxing ring. Whew. Having 10 performers in motion and multiple overlapping stories certainly increased the sense of urgency and danger underlying the fire theme, but every once in a while one longed for a fireman to dampen things down a bit.

With air and water, Malcolm-Naib seemed her most assured. "Airheart" owed something to the story of Amelia Earhart's doomed flight, and everything to the upward reaching, fluid movements of the eight white-clad dancers, which suggested flight and even disaster without anything coy or silly. Water in motion is the only way to describe "Cascadence." The ripple, roll and surge of the dancers' (Malcolm-Naib, Livingston and Stanley) bodies couldn't have been anything else.

Dance is this lady's true natural element.

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