'RISE' an uneven effort for Robert Moses' Kin
The major issue seemed to be Carl Hancock Rux's overwhelming text that ranges from ancient to contemporary injustices. His words thundered across the stage like some invisible doomsayer's. Since we are more wired to absorb information aurally than visually that can't be helped, but it put a big burden on the dance.
Often the stage looked like an arena for struggle. Jeremy Bannon-Neches gesturing and leaping as if attacked, Wells whipping through turns as if pursued, and Montalvo drawing on his hip-hop roots to tear into the fray. Even the gorgeously long-limbed Bell seemed besieged when simply standing still. In their solos, Goneconti and Johnson seemed as unstoppable as the passage of time. At one point two dancers appeared to be nailed to a wall, quite arbitrarily. And yet among these incidences, there were welcome moments of quiet, passages of waiting, and a double circle folk dance when everybody seemed to be on the same page.
The last image was of Montalvo vigorously gyrating his hips with some overhead comment about being creative, because that's all we have. A noble thought, perhaps, but not enough to pull this ambitious project into focus. *