TWO-PART FORTI BILL AT LACE
At 50, Simone Forti remains committed to organic dancing: movement in harmony with nature. At a time when her generation of back-to-basics dance rebels has largely sold out to spectacle and virtuosity, it is reassuring to find that she still holds to the purity of her original vision with no loss in freshness or insight.
In a stimulating two-part program, Friday at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), this New York-based post-modernist investigated the roots of expressive dancing: the need to move as a way of communicating feelings about experience.
Pre-theatrical, shaped by reactive impulse rather than formal technique, Forti’s performance began with her arranging newspaper sections like stepping stones. This idea of making pathways helped unify both her solo “News Animations” and “Full Moves,” performed by Forti and seven members of her recent LACE movement workshop.
She soon began talking about current events and reflecting her remarks in movement. Reclining in a cantilevered position supported by one hand, she suddenly tumbled over when speaking about “a drop in land values,” and later (in an account of a trip to the Middle East) propelled herself slowly along the floor on her back while describing giant oil tankers.
Sometimes she represented geography, or suggested a natural resource or depicted the movement of the earth. The world monetary system became a series of woozy, careening reaches and turns. However much of “News Animations” involved non-literal correspondences--energy and dynamics establishing personal, associative contact with the subjects--and this approach dominated “Full Moves.”
Incorporating an evolutionary parade (dancers rolling, crawling, hopping, loping, then walking and running--with occasional regressions), “Full Moves” also included artful movement games: dancers cyclically clambering over and rejoining a huddle, interplay with tree branches and a duet for Forti and Tina Mackley that juxtaposed standing and seated (or reclining) versions of the same movements.
One section began with Pattie Tawada and Mark Walker playfully but forcefully shoving each other, head-to-head, and expanded, eventually, into a full-cast rondo alla slam-dancing: physical confrontation reiterated as a choreographic motif without any sense of antagonism or even tension.
Through all this, Forti presented herself as a whimsical primitive: the Grandma Moses of dance. As usual, this stance scarcely masked a deep intelligence and an extraordinary ability to holistically integrate--or explicate--perceptions.