STOOPS and SIDEWALKS Are her stage
Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company's Laura Teeter poses on her stoop in an untitled work performed outside for Troy Night Out.
edEllen Sinopoli always had an eye for architecture. As a choreographer, it probably comes with the territory – seeing the grace, style and beauty in the inanimate as much as the animate.
In her latest work, which is untitled, outdoors and created for Troy Night Out, she melded the art forms of dance and architecture by embracing the region’s most elegant buildings – those that line Second Street in the Collar City.
She built her short work, performed on Friday night, on four, contiguous stoops – using the steps as a playground and the banisters and door frames as the proscenium arch.
It didn’t start that way, however. At first, the only thing spectators, who were strolling about for the monthly Troy Night Out, saw was Devesh Chandra, a classical Indian tabla musician. The pong of his tabla brought forth four of Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company artists, Maggie Ciambrone, Erin Dooley, Andre Robles and Laura Teeter, from the lower level of one of the brownstones.
As they started to twirl or leap along the sidewalk – almost inconspicuous in their street clothes and sneakers – the spring in their step lent them an urban chic. But the mysterious music, which Chandra enhanced with traditional percussive vocals, shaded the overall sensation with a sheen of the ancient and a gloss of primal.
Each dancer eventually found their personal stoop where they partnered with the railings and tip toed and tapped down the stairs. In between, they scurried their way to each other on the pavement, entwining arms and legs, embracing trees, iron balustrades and each other.
What made it fun too was the pedestrians who passed by and others who peered out their windows, unknowingly becoming part of the dance’s tableau. And behind the windows of the houses, one could see a television broadcasting the news and a sparkling kitchen in use. Thus the work had the mundane competing with the art, which in this case, offered a glimpse of the interior mind.
While brief – a mere 15 minutes – the piece d’occasion would have been worth watching again and again as each time the scene would likely present another flash of something unique -- a reminder that the banal is always competing with one's aesthetic.
The work finished with the dancer posed gracefully in their doorways, symbolically claiming their domain and becoming an ornament within the structures themselves.