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Sunday, September 11, 2011

tEEth Does PDX Proud

Posted by Noah Dunham on Sun, Sep 11, 2011 at 4:44 PM

Powerful, gripping, challenging; adjectives can only tell you so much about tEEth's Home Made.
In many ways the piece defies definition, beckoning the audience to grapple with its themes in a very experiential way. Which is what ultimately makes Home Made a successful work; it communicates, engages, questions, and specifies without words. Which for all intents and purposes is the challenge at the heart of all contemporary dance, and the reason it can be such a fickle craft to create and to see. tEEth has bridged this gap though and created what could be one of the most thrilling performances in TBA:11.

tEEth_HomeMade_AaronRogosin_4.jpg

I'll attempt to go into more detail about the piece after the jump, but simply put: this is a performance worth seeing. tEEth's Artistic Directors Angelle Hebert and Phillip Kraft using two dancers, two vocalists, an original score, and a minimal set, have created something special. They and Portland should be proud.

Ok, now to try and get a little more specific:

At the center of Home Made is a story about relationship. It begins with the image of two lovers underneath a sheet, touching, caressing, playing. It is an image that is familiar to many, and it sets the basis for the journey ahead. A journey that follows these lovers as they become entwined, engrossed, isolated, and torn asunder. At first glance, the choreography appears to be an exploration of a co-dependent relationship and the interplay between support and suffering that these kind of partnerships create. But as the movements continue one starts to realize that there is something more universal being shown. These lovers are archetypical, their communication representative of a desire that many humans beings have to express themselves. Therein lies the real connection that tEEth conveys by the end of Home Made's 90 minute duration: instead of feeling as though one has watched a pair of lovers grapple through their relationship, one feels they have taken glimpses in a mirror and saw images known in their own lives.

Now as engaging as all that sounds, it must be said that at times I was personally taken out of the piece by some of the shock value that Home Made incorporates. I think Hebert and Kraft wanted to create something that would wake people up, but at times the piece walked a fine line between tasteful and crude. A little bird (Alison) just told me that apparently Claudia La Rocco over at Portland Monthly thought that the piece actually did meander too far into the plane of crudeness. But I wasn't so swayed by the nudity or saliva (so much mouth action!). In either case, I believe this will be a much talked about performance in TBA and one that you should get tickets for asap.

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