Mon, Jun 10, 2013 - Page 12 News List

Weekender: Body language

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

Two women and four men clad in T-shirts and slacks walked onto the floor, formed a line facing the middle bank of seats and proceeded to blow up balloons and slowly let the air out. They repeated the sequence to the right bank of seats and then the left bank, but sans balloons the third time. Regrouped at the back of the set, they stood, holding their breaths, until one by one they were forced to exhale and walk off the set.

Then Chen appeared with Liu Yancheng (劉彥成) for a duet that began by focusing on small movements of their hands or a limb, then widen to encompass the whole body, before they separated for solos — hers centered on contractions of the torso, his on his hands.

Chen crafted a series of delicate, light-as-air pairings and solos for herself and Liu, with the other six dancers acting as sort of a Greek chorus, coming on for more breathing movements or a round of quiet murmurs and then laughter. Each segment was delineated by a quick blackout.

The piece ended with a final, collective, spotlit circle as the dancers inhaled and exhaled under a microphone suspended from the ceiling, with about two dozen balloons gently floating on currents of air around them.

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