Nottthing’s Plenty for D.D.

Less is more, right? In 9 bodies, the opening “condition” of D.D. Dorvillier’s Nottthing Is Importanttt at The Kitchen, a group of performers (you guessed it, nine), slowly shifted angles and pulled at their baggy, grey-toned clothing to reveal various parts of their bodies. As some exploration of “body” is inherent in all dance, and nudity raises few eyebrows in the downtown scene, it was intriguing that this simple, focused unveiling of specific, isolated sections of the body felt so intimate and special, as if each dancer was sharing a secret by exposing his leg, her arm, his abdomen, her back.

Initially, this was very powerful. Yet, as the piece continued, I found myself losing focus. Maybe I should have had an espresso before the show, but the consistent, weighted pacing made me pretty sleepy after a while. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It was similar for me to an experience of meditating. My mind sometimes wandered, and I often needed to shift my seat to stay attentive, but if I kept open to the experience, I found that it had something to offer in its subtlety. If one can take Dorvillier’s title to have at least a peripheral reference to Buddhist philosophy, perhaps that was an intention for the work.

After a movie, a bizarre, nightmarish film in which a lumberjack tried to split an ever re-forming log after Santa Claus smashed some folding chairs with a sledge hammer, the audience was led literally the hand, two at a time, into a nearly pitch-dark space that became completely pitch-dark once the crowd was in. (We had been gently forced to check our coats and bags at the beginning of the show to make this transition smoother, and less hazardous for the dancers.) During those first few minutes of the darkpart I was in absolutely no danger of nodding off. Sitting there, unable to see anything but the tiny specs of glow tape on the floor in front of me, I felt like a fourth-grader who didn’t want to tell her friends in the haunted house that she was terrified and wanted to leave – how uncool.

Lucky for me, fright was not the order of the evening, and as I listened to the sounds of the performers running behind me, breathing, sliding on the floor, it was actually comforting. When the teeniest bit of light lit the space ever so slightly, the performers seemed to glow, shimmering and shifting in and out of focus. Were they wearing white? Were there more of them on the other side of the room? What were they doing to make those sounds? I strained to find them, curious for more clues. Important(tt) or not, Nottthing is surprisingly intriguing.

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