38 Thoughts While Watching “Odeon”: A response by J’Sun Howard

A response to Odeon by Ephrat Asherie Dance

Performed by: Manon Bal, Teena Marie Custer, Val “Ms. Vee” Ho,  Linda”LaNaija”Madueme, Matthew “Megawatt” West, Ousmane “Omari Mizrahi” Wiles

With Live Musicians: Eduardo Belo, Vitor Goncalves, Sergio Krakowski,  Angel Lau

October 11, 12, and 13, 2018 at 7:30 pm at the Dance Center of Columbia College

photo credit: Matthew Murphy

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  1. This pre-show music is cute or whatever. The Vogueing beat element in it could be stronger.
  2. I understand you have to encourage the audience sometimes but this encouragement feels like over compensation.
  3. I haven’t seen stepping in a long time. This rudimentary execution could be complicated like the live music.
  4. The masonite boards under the lighting gives a basement linoleum-floor-party-feel.
  5. I’m glad the company is mostly women!
  6. So far, not much depth in Odeon. It’s groovy. More (non-structured) play would lead to ecstasy or maximum pleasure.
  7. The softer movement and slowing down of time and space is effective, especially when it’s in the “in between” of things. (A duet ends while a trio enters from stage right with an Africanist rhythm.)
  8. Camille A. Brown’s “Black Girl: Linguistic Play” comes to mind. Not completely a good or bad thing. On stage, does live music elevate social dance forms or not? (The piano in “Linguistic Play” was boring and maybe a misstep.)
  9. This pas de deux between Ephrat and Omari is dope. Wish it were longer just to see how this B-Girl and Voguer can fuck up some shit. Nonetheless, I love brevity—it keeps everything alive because you have to keep trying to catch it, not miss it.
  10. Damn, sitting stage right far from the musicians, I can’t feel the music. Are they not mic’d properly?
  11. This may be why I’m not into so much.
  12. The softer slowing down looks like a pause now. Keep dancing. This choreographic mechanism is starting to annoy me.
  13. The silence doesn’t help either.
  14. The gloomier moment of this trio and shadow play on the black scrim feels like last call. I would be satisfied if Odeon ended here.
  15. Come through Omari with that slinky Catwalk.
  16. Definitely could use some more Vogueing in Odeon. No shade, that could have been disastrous though.
  17. Another cute mini pas de deux. This is where the “tricks” should be. Not sure if bringing these social dance forms together have found sophistication in the movement yet. I see the individuality but where is the new language created from them?
  18. Can joy and exuberance be soulless?
  19. I don’t feel their joy and exuberance out here in the audience.
  20. Oh, and, the two dancers entering from the audience to start the show was an afterthought. I’m waiting for the moment when they come back out to the audience.
  21. Omari is doing his duckwalk. He’s about to Vogue the house down!
  22. Nah, what a shame. Ephrat should have given him a solo. His hands/arm control is exquisite.
  23. That is a let down.
  24. Okurr for getting trade together with that gestural finger point.
  25. This head ticking dialogue is interesting. Again, didn’t last long enough to go anywhere.
  26. This must be the choreographic problem Lauren Warnecke mentioned in the Chicago Tribune. I agree, this didn’t work for me either. If Ephrat is going for what seems to be a volta (turn in thought), singing or nudity or balloon animals (Baby Trump) or … would’ve been better options.
  27. The accordion player with solos are dope. Maybe the best section in Odeon. These should have came sooner. I’m invested in these.
  28. I’m ready for this dance to end.
  29. If virtuosity is to take me to the sublime, I need more virtuosity.
  30. Okay, if I see one more canon in this choreography; I’m going to impale my eyes with this pen!
  31. I see Omari’s duckwalk. I want to see him get his 10s.
  32. Linda’s solo reminds me of birds that can’t fly. This image has been recurring to me lately.
  33. Odeon could’ve been 45 or 50 minutes long.
  34. I appreciate what Ephrat Asherie Dance did. I wonder how long the process was. Another year into movement research and experimentation, and this could be even more than what it is now.
  35. Val’s comedic moment in the bow was sweet.
  36. [Angel Lau is cute!]
  37. The vibrancy in Odeon is fresh.

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J’Sun Howard is a PRJ Guest Editor.