GO: Jennifer Allen’s “Open” at the Kitchen

Tonight’s the last night. If you live in or around New York, treat yourself. With the Kitchen’s commitment to rock-bottom ticket prices, admission is only 10 bucks. “Open” is second on a double bill with Kimberly Bartosik’s “Ecsteriority1,” which for me was neither here nor there, but not excruciating. The dancers were engaging, anyway.
About “Open”: Jennifer Allen offers not what childhood looks like, but what it feels like.
Choreographers and especially novelists are returning often to childhood these days–not out of nostalgia, I don’t think, but because they want to approach experience before the veil of convention has fully descended. (Of course, children have conventions of their own; as Allen shows, they’re constantly making them up.) So you get double vision without the usual irony.
Tone is everything in these works: if they fall into cutesiness or treacly sentiment for one second, all’s lost. Allen sustains a wonderfully idiosyncratic tone of weightless intensity that allows a multitude of activities to harmoniously, deliciously, and hypersensically coexist.
She creates a child’s world of tiny or huge but always unremarked shifts in scale and time (think Alice from deeper inside her body); of feathery yet absolute absorption in one experiment, then another; of adults on the margins facelessly supplying the props.
The extraordinary dancers (many, familiar downtown faces) are Eleanor Hullihan, Heather Olson, Jillian Peña, Katy Pyle, and Allen. They grace “Open” with dandelion precision.
I hope you can make it.

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