In dance, the addition of other media can overwhelm and even distract where it ought to enhance. Valerie Williams and Co’Motion Dance Theater avoid this with an ingenious trick. Created live, video recordings of dancers are displayed in layers, and at a time delay, on a screen at the back of the stage. When the delay is significant, the video acts as a duet partner for a single dancer. Other times, treated with a fairy-dust filter, one layer comes across more as the suggestion of a figure—as white noise that resembles an evaporating dancer. Or there’s an impression of many figures trying to catch the live dancer, who eludes them. Either that or she’s tried to outrun her shadow and succeeded so well that it splintered five ways.
The tangle of video cameras, projections, and spotlights makes a point about methodology: the dancers, like the equipment, are also instruments, each assigned one line in the choreographer’s score. But there’s much more here than special effects. Williams’s quiet poses and sweeping motions have a mystical, sedative quality. She eschews leaps, lunges, and high lifts in favor of a mellower mix of walking, running, and falling. The dancers are best when they’re at their most fluid—when they roll drowsily across the stage, or bend over backward until they fall in a fit of unexpected grace. Matthew Coley provides marimba accompaniment; he’s also on the bill with Lynn Vartan as the persussive duo Solstice.