Company: Reviews: 2007: Janet Anderson

Tuned Up
Jeanne Ruddy Dance

by Janet Anderson
City Paper
Published: Apr 17, 2007

No lube jobs were needed during the superb seventh-season opener of Jeanne Ruddy's Performance Garage, a marvelous rehearsal and theater space she created in the shell of a 1930s Fairmount auto body shop.

The Earth Moves: Dance Gone Green program began with Song Without Words," choreographed in 2004 by friend and Fosse muse Ann Reinking. The undulating dance was all seductive Broadway sass, body stretches and chair moves. Rick Callendar and Sun-Mi Cho were spectacular in a boneless, slithering duet; retired PAB dancer Alexei Borovik may no longer be able to jeté, but looked lithe dishing out jazzy moves.

New York innovator Jane Comfort contributed Short Term Memory," an odd but wonderful work centered on control and command. The abrupt bursts of the score, which included dog barks and horn honks, were accompanied by dancers shouting out orders like drill sergeants and hollering eerie canine commands (heel, sit, stay, etc).

The star piece of Ruddy’s show was the self-choreographed Oceans 1: Wetlands, a call to arms to save New Jersey's natural habitats. While dance doesn't normally work well as political appeal, the piece meshed because Ruddy never lost sight of her primary task: creating interesting movements. A dancer-narrator strolled through commenting on the plight of wildlife, but the device was more poetic than didactic, the focus was always on bodies in silvery leotards, crawling, waving legs in the air and flying across the stage. The kinetic poem was made even more eloquent by the fact that Ruddy did some good along the way.