At Triskelion, A Feminist Dance Piece by Denisa Musilova
Dancer-choreographer Denisa Musilova has put a modern twist on the classic love triangle. Yes, there are one man and two women in her dance piece, Fitting Rooms, but a Marius-Cosette-Eponine reimagining this is not. Instead it’s more like if Handmaid’s Tale were set to dance — but with a more theatrical and less grim tone.
The lithely and talented Massimiliano Balduzzi, Giulia Carotenuto, and Musilova herself perform in this feminist and individualist piece, which concludes at Triskelion Arts (106 Cayler Street) this evening at 8 PM after its three-day run.Musilova is a skilled dancer with a keen eye for stage imagery — there are moments of pure bliss and beauty followed, harrowingly, by disturbing tableaus. Each beat in Fitting Room‘s 50-minute performance is meticulously measured and cleverly executed. Musilova makes wise use of the two doors, and their connecting hallways, upstage in the theater — this is the clandestine area where the dancers go, unseen, to explore their true selves, out of public eye, away from the audience’s scrutiny. We hear them, and the little soundbites Musilova directs her dancers to vocalize help advance the story even when we can’t fully see them.
When onstage, the performers bound about with precision and grace. Carotenuto and Musilova often move as one as a unified force either caught in or trying to escape Balduzzi’s web. Balduzzi casts a charming presence, but in light of the #MeToo movement, charming is often one step away from something slimier, and Balduzzi tows this line deftly. He often spins the women around him, contorts them, or pulls them into his gravity for a spell. But sometimes the women get the upper hand: In one mesmerizing feat, Balduzzi is physically beneath the women, and finally they manipulate his body. Hoisting his waist upward, the women straddle his torso and hug his body with their thighs, allowing Balduzzi to lift his arms and legs off the ground and create a magic carpet for Carotenuto and Musilova to soar on.
Fitting Rooms is apparently based on Lacan’s mirror theory, examining how the dancers come to know themselves. In this, Musilova gifts the performers with stunning vignettes to unearth their desires and unleash their might — in all its terror, sympathy, and beauty.