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Dance Review: Dancers make 'Mayfly' truly magical

Thursday, May 02, 2002

By Jane Vranish

The mayflies are back, right on schedule. Last night, swarms of them ignored Downtown buildings in favor of the Dance Alloy's Neighborhood Dance Center in Friendship. Scores of them filtered into the studio, making their way up the walls and along the floor, while larger ones nestled in the windows.

It was almost as breathtaking as the real thing.

For this was a collaboration celebration between paper artist Stephanie Flom, whose colorful Matisse-like prints skimmed the studio landscape (along with Barbara Thompson's imaginative lighting), and Alloy artistic director and choreographer Mark Taylor. It was the final segment of a yearlong series that literally transformed the Alloy studio into a party-hearty place, a video gallery and, now, "Mayfly: Hello Love, Goodbye -- I'm Dead!"

Taylor's premiere followed the life cycle of the mayfly, presenting four sections: Egg, Nymph, Sub-imago and Imago, nestled in the soaring melodies and romping rhythms of three Rossini overtures. It was an unlikely, yet ultimately perfect marriage, carried out by a quintet of dancers in pastel jumpsuits with flowing leg panels and wing-like inserts.

Gwen Hunter Ritchie was the Egg, huddled in a watery environment, toes and arms itching to get moving. It was not long before the Nymphs entered to portray the growing phase, where the mayflies gobble everything in sight. Michael Walsh was a cross between a vampire and Puck, the wild look during his feeding frenzy tempered by the soft, red curls of his hair. These were definitely insects -- the pincer-like arms, the odd fetal positions, a daffy backstroke thrown in for good measure. Gillian Beauchamp looked like a tadpole attached to Walsh's leg, squiggling across the floor.

The men signaled the sexually charged Sub-imago or adolescent stage, posturing like Schwarzenegger, posing like Adonis. The women preened and pranced like teen-aged girls in stiletto heels. They would flit. They would fly. They would stomp the ground.

The last section, Imago or death, was the greatest challenge for Taylor. But he literally grabbed it by the throat, with Walsh still looking slightly maniacal. It was over all too soon.

Andre Koslowski and Ritchie also immersed themselves in Taylor's lusty, bawdy "Bodice Ripper."

The program will be repeated through Saturday at 8 p.m.; 412-363-4321.

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