“Like a Sun That Pours Forth Light But Never Warmth” is the brightly ominous title of Allie Hankins‘s dance at SCUBA (through May 6 at Velocity Dance Center; tickets), and she delivers strange goods as promised.
Her solo performance is at once theatrical, light playing on surfaces, and introspective, with unseen voids. With the iconic Nijinsky, Hankins begins a choreographic correspondence, borrowing his roles to write back with.
The work opens with Hankins bolting from the audience aisle upstage to a doorway into which she vanishes, and the lights go out. It’s just long enough for you to notice that she’s topless, in flesh-colored tights. Next she appears kneeling with her back to the audience, on a long red curtain-carpet. She arches backwards.
Cut again to her stage left, dappling shoulders with gold, her face a mask. Once more she exits, dashes back into the space. To Ravel’s “Bolero,” she repeats a formally precise set of slicing movements, before simply turning to jump (Nijinsky-like, one imagines) on the drum beats, a feat that becomes climactic.
All of this is mesmerizing, of a part with Hankins’s ongoing interest with what she calls the “betrayals” of the body. Dancing topless exposes one of those betrayals, I suspect. Though she’s slicked back her hair, and has the musculature for jumps with hang-time, Hankins doesn’t strap down her breasts. Women at intermission talk about the impact of it–you know, it’s just not done. They get in the way, distract. It’s not everyday you see someone embody an argument, and Hankins does, though it’s made more powerful by the suspicion that this is equally a challenge to herself. --Velocity’s SCUBA Brings Flour, Forks, and Transfiguration, The SunBreak, May 5, 2012. By Michael van Baker
Previews for evening-length debut:
Review for evening-length premiere by Kaitie Todd: