She is Ourselves: Woolly Mammoth and Everyone You Know
Begin at the end, when everyone you know comes on stage. Stop, one hand on hip, turn. This is the Big Finish. It is odd and deadpan and very Woolly Mammoth Comes To Dinner. Recall the herd of extras on chairs who earlier in “She is Ourselves,” Woolly’s performance at PICA’s TBA:10 Festival, hopped lurchingly across the stage. Say something about The Slaves’ score and how brilliantly it laid a sonic ground, created tension, and when necessary, let the rhythm hit ‘em.
Say something about purposeful awkwardness, about serious irony, about a new take on the ass-grab, which is to say bent-double, tail-high, hand through the legs and coming at you, the audience. This is not pretty. But it does perform that function, in a very precise way, of asking the audience to ask themselves about their expectations for dance. Because there are still lots of folks who show up wanting to see pretty bodies do pretty things and tell a little story in the process. The ladies of Woolly are beautiful, and their choreography can be arrestingly beautiful as well. But Woolly can be relied upon to, as the pop star says, “gimme more.” Kathleen is going to do a headstand on a chair. Katie’s going to build a stepping-stone path of planks across the stage. Rikki and Katie are going to get in a fight. And they’re going to hop around on kindergarten chairs. What can movement be? And while we explore that, can it still entertain? Being able, in the case of the Woolly Three, to answer that in the affirmative makes a WMCTD performance a treat. Like the best contemporary dance groups, Woolly experiments. And at the same time, they’re going to Bring It; this isn’t dry, academic dance. It’s as playful as it is committed.
Did you miss your chance to see Woolly Mammoth Comes to Dinner at The Works for PICA’s TBA:10 Festival? No problem. The Second Coming is tonight at Valentine’s (232 SW Ankeny), where Woolly will do some version or extract of “She is Ourselves” in an evening of dance that includes work by the rad, traveling MGM Grand. 8 PM. How will they squeeze a dance that happened on that huge Washington High stage into little Valentine’s? I, for one, can’t wait to find out.