Movement Forum, otherwise known as MoFo, celebrated their eleventh year by curating a show of dynamite choreographers and dancers called Mine Goes To 11: THE MOFO SHOW. The company worked with Gabriel Forestieri, Yvonne Meier, Stephen Koester, Miguel Gutierrez, and Ishmael Houston-Jones.
We began the evening being lead around outside the University of Utah’s Marriott Center for Dance–– a big black umbrella showing us the way. We were witnessing U and Leah, choreographed by Gabriel Forestieri. As we walked, we fell upon some dancers sitting on a bench, and then four others standing against a wall. This edifice was a campus building separated from us by a flat, vast concrete space. The dancers ran and walked along the sagittal lines of the concrete, fell into duets, solos, and in and out of a unison phrase. This particular space allowed the audience’s perception of the dancers to change, as they were able to use the long depth between them, drastically changing their size in front of our eyes–– something impossible on a shallower proscenium stage. We were then lead to other areas where the dancers interacted with the architecture and open windows, dumpsters and railings. They went in and out of apparent improvisation and clear choreography. At one point, the audience was stationed above a small grassy hill where the dancers ran up, somersaulted, and rolled down the hill like children, which was a joy to watch from our point of view. In general, this site-specific piece used locations around the MCD Building where I’d never imagined dance occurring. It was a fun, unique and interactive experience for all.
The first stage piece was NYC-based Yvonne Meier’s Gogolorez. The dancers, dressed in black, gold and yellow, entered the stage upon instructions announced by Michael Watkiss, who stood stage-left with a microphone. The entire piece was a live improvisation score coming to life as we watched–– something Meier has played with before. Watkiss instructed on how to move and/or what to imagine. There was twitching, fainting, laughing, bumping, and dying a slow death. Some ideas gradually changed in being repetitively interrupted by another idea, and some ideas abruptly switched over to something completely new. It was incredibly intriguing and entertaining to watch the obedient dancers actively make new decisions over and over again. The process was predictable, but the ideas and movement were unpredictable, bizarre and humorous.
she’s a beautiful man, a collaborative work with Miguel Gutierrez, was completely different than any other piece in the show. The work was “made remotely”. Gutierrez sent MoFo articles, videos, songs, writings of his own, and other inspirations he came across over the course of the summer. The piece seemed to have no beginning, middle or end. There were lots of strange props, costumes, characters, and texts. The speaking seemed to be from stream-of-conscious writings, perhaps inspired by separate situations the audience was unaware of, or by the actual performance as it happened. To me, it was as if Gutierrez’s mind and the minds of the dancers were shaken up and then emptied into a box, and then shaken up a bit more. The audience was given a glimpse into this box of mixed up thoughts and ideas, some of which were hilarious, sad, uncomfortable and confusing.
Personally, I have been waiting to see works like these here in Salt Lake City since I moved here fifteen months ago. It was incredibly refreshing and different, but at the same time comforting to me. Not only were the choreographic ideas incredibly engrossing, but they were very well executed by the performers. I saw a performance and movement range in these dancers that I had not yet seen in them before. They were animated and immensely creative on the spot. They proved they could improvise well alone and with each other, and that they could also execute choreography well together, as in Stephen Koester’s5 and a short 20. This Is How The Story Goes, (As Far As I Can Tell) by Ishmael Houston-Jones, perfectly closed the show. A series of duets moved back and forth across the stage, gradually shifting into trios and even larger groups. With a live guitarist on stage, the piece ended with a trio that featured Sarah Franco telling a story about her grandparents. It was raw, real and in the moment. I left this show completely satisfied, but also with anticipation to see more. I believe that THE MOFO SHOW was a complete success and I couldn’t be more excited to see more from them in the future.
Monica Remes is a member of Tryptic Figures, a local dance group in which she’s joined by Brooklyn Draper and Joshua Mora. She holds a degree in dance from Illinois Urbana-Champaign.