Brolly Arts H2O

Brolly Arts transformed the Rose Wagner Center for Performing Arts into a playground for over 40 artists to fill vacant public space with aesthetic works concerning H2O. Whether it was a decorative umbrella laying on the ground or vessels made from recycled water bottles, there was always something that caught your eye. Unlike a playground, however, some of the works at the Rose were scattered in a manner that turned the evening into somewhat of a scavenger hunt rather than the intended gallery stroll. Nevertheless, a gathering line outside of the women’s restroom ushered viewers to what Kathy Adams names, “One of the two most intriguing dances of the night.”

This dance was Mallory Rosenthal’s driving work, titled with the women’s bathroom icon, in which six women – resembling a skilled company – displayed outstanding feats of technicality and intricate gestural play. Rosenthal’s use of space was imaginative not just in the foreground but also away from the audience’s immediate view; the dancers would leap behind a wall into pedestrian movement to provide a witty sound score involving the flushing of toilets, the jetting of faucets, and crinkling of paper towels preceding and subsequent to the pulse of “All The Girls Standing In Line For The Bathroom,” by N.E.R.D. This work’s success lies in its inventive craftsmanship and multi-viewer-friendliness. Perhaps the only thing lacking was a shift in dynamics.

Taking place on a table in the laundry room was “Divided,” from which flowed a tensely elegant duet composed by Sofia Gorder. Dancers Ursula Perry and Jersey Riemo embodied Gorder’s visceral movement beautifully. The most interesting movement took place in the dancers’ torsos wherein a collapse or a slight shift was repeated consistently throughout the piece, yet by the end the viewer still could not grasp which bones they had moved. The pace of this work was adverse to the mercurial lure of the lighting, albeit a short stillness, in which one dancer was on top of the table and one beneath, which cast a beautiful but fleeting image. I craved more of these moments.

Trailing in after the dancers were images of rivers agleam in willows, light moving from waters, and quiet trees holding their breath in lavender. In a brief poetry reading, Joel Hall eloquently conveyed these images that persisted in my mind even as I ascended the staircase to see Brent Schneider’s water/video installation. This installation allowed the visitor to walk into a dark space where the shroud of lobby chatter dissipated and where crystalline shimmers illuminated a mesmerizing video in which a dancer, totally submerged in a body of water, reeled and twisted to the trickle of delicate water. This installation was not complex; there were a few facets that had been flourished enough to keep the visitor interested for the duration of the video, however the decision to leave this world was a difficult one to make.

I have never seen the Rose in such great spirits. The opportunity to walk leisurely around among works of art before taking your seat is more than enjoyable. For those of you who arrive exceedingly early to formal performances, suggest more pre-shows because Brolly Arts’ “H2O” was thirst quenching.

Becca Dean is a BFA candidate at the University of Utah