r e v i e w s
2010 ~ 2009 ~ 2008 ~ 2005
In 2010, we asked our audience members to review our home season. Thanks to all those who answered the call! There were so many responses that we've only included a few below. Here's what you had to say:
"Gorgeous movement with incredible creativity and grace.
Didn't want it to end."
Reviewed by: Anonymous
"I really enjoyed the uniqueness of this show compared to other dance shows that I have seen. The show takes you on this emotional roller coaster that made you nostalgic for good times and sad for the bad times. The dancers did a wonderful job conveying the emotions of the song or spoken word. Visually the choreography was captivating and I really appreciated the great detail put into every movement. Overall, I would recommend friends to see this show."
Reviewed by: Antonio Valdez
"I haven't seen much of this type of performance so I am not an expert but I know that I liked what I saw!"
Reviewed by: Anonymous
"Ahdanco created an enjoyable evening of new dance in an intimate, welcoming setting. Of particular interest was the final piece on the program - a trio featuring Rebecca Gilbert, Amanda Whitehead, and choreographer Abigail Hosein. The three worked beautifully together, navigating a tightly constructed and layered piece. The women's movements were fierce without being forceful, determined without appearing contrived, dramatic and yet subtly "cool" throughout. It was a great way to end the program!Additionally, kudos must be given to the dancers and poets of "Three Stories." Each of these pieces was packed with powerful imagery that took the viewers on a journey into the intimate space of subjects' private lives. The poets and dancers related well with one another, sharing space, mood, and rhythm beautifully."
Reviewed by: Melissa Hudson Bell
"In a word, scrumtrulescent."
Reviewed by: Anonymous
"Ahdanco’s performance at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center was truly extraordinary in every way. Abigail Hosein created a magical experience in this intimate performance space. It was beautifully conceived and carried out with the utmost polish and professionalism. Her choreographic skills are amazingly rich, detailed and intriguing. Nothing is blurred by her superb dancers. The movement is stylized, yet very human, and speaks eloquently, whether performed to the spoken word or to marvelously assembled musical montages with a unique mix of musical styles. It all works! Though the movement vocabulary is intricate and precise, the very gifted and uniquely individual dancers have assimilated the complex choreography into their bodies with complete ease and sureness, yet leaving room for dramatic expression.
The entire evening was thoughtfully integrated to deliver a full and memorable experience, which included the textured wall coverings, the costumes and spare but effective lighting. Kudos to this amazing company. Hopefully, we will be hearing and seeing much more of them."
Reviewed by: Frank Shawl
"As an artist I often struggle when switching to audience-mode. Last night, Abigail Hosein and company made it easy for me. The Ahdanco crew served a range of fresh, poignant pieces in a family-style experience only possible with local artists. Yes, this was the Chez Panisse of dance, although much cheaper. Upstairs at the cozy Shawl Anderson Dance Center, strong bodies of all types exploded with intense, often aggressive choreography. Claustrophobic patrons relaxed into their chairs (or pillows) as walls faded and individuals beckoned, "Here, look!" These are glass-half-full artists for sure. Bars and restaurants are plentiful on College Ave. (at Alcatraz), but parking is not. When I return, whether for another show or to try my hand/legs at Ballet, I'll ditch the car and walk from Rockridge BART. This place is truly a local treasure, as are Ms. Hosein and Ahdanco."
Reviewed by: Tim Silva
"Abigail is particularly gifted at portraying the complexities of human relationship through dance . . . I was also very moved to see dancers with very different bodies, energy, styles dancing in sequence at times. . . What a beautiful example of humans unified, yet unique at the same time!
Last, I longed for some stillness as part of the choreography . . . It's rare when choreographers use stillness, yet it's so balancing to the intensity of the movement . . . It provides a place for breath, for dancers and audience--to absorb what's happening. It provides a frame for the magnificence of the dance. Stillness and silence are a form of genius which are often overlooked in Western culture. Thank you for your work! It means so much in the world . . ."
Review by: Erika Bunnin
"Awesome! I love all kinds of dance and especially modern dance. The choreography is so passionate and strong that I can feel what they are possibly feeling. I love ahdanco particularly because they are so physical and make such contact with each other, no dancers space is separate from the next. The up close and personal performance style is unique and adds to my enjoyment."
Reviewed by: Keri Denney
"I loved that the show had such a variety of music and emotions while also somehow keeping with a general feeling/purpose (or at least that's how I felt). I got completely wrapped up in the passion and power and heartbreak of the performances and loved every minute of it!"
Reviewed by: Luthien Niland
"We really loved the interesting choreography and that the pieces were fairly short, but very cohesive as a group. The dancers moved seamlessly through each work -- with wonderful collaboration. The music was always interesting and the poets were fantastic. It was a great concept (the piece itself) and beautifully performed. Thank you we'll be back."
Reviewed by: Anonymous
"I loved it!! I loved the multi-media approach with poetry slam and dance. I loved the strong feelings I felt from witnessing the dancers, the passion, excitement, anger, frustration. I loved the movement with the music, lights and costumes. I loved the variety of dancers, I loved the high level of performance and ability!!"
Reviewed by: Tricia
"I thought it was an inspiring and wonderful performance. I usually don't like spoken word and dance, but the poems in themselves were wonderful, the dancers wonderful - that I really enjoyed the pieces."
Reviewed by: Anonymous
Audience feedback from
the CounterPULSE Blog
on ahdanco's co-production with groupA
"powerful, joyful, emotional, beautiful, phenomenal energy!"
"It was amazing! I liked all the humor. Also, the multimedia aspects. I felt like I personally knew the dancers, Thank you!"
"Some moments brought me to tears...will definitely see them again"
Small is Beautiful
Dance Mission Theater
March 23, 2008
Abigail Hosein is a miniaturist. She is also a college dance instructor. The two don’t necessarily work all that well together. One demands focused attention to detail, the other a willingness to showcase undeveloped dancers to the best of their abilities. Given those inherent limitations, Hosein’s concert over the Easter weekend offered a well structured, varied evening of dance. The program opened and closed with works Hosein created on her Santa Clara University students, but not before presenting these junior performers in an elaborately evolving “spiders net” on the staircase to the second story lobby. “The First Piece”, appropriate to a program dedicated to chaos, featured the students in set and improvised sections taking over the theater. For the finale, “Tupelos, Barns and Alligator Farms”, an extended romp in which some of the more advanced dancers performed small solos, appeared to have been set in country dance hall. Each of the eleven dancers had developed a persona—shy, rambunctious, a flirt. Chairs served as props; the clouds of overlapping duets suggested youthful exuberance. While students may need performing opportunities and it’s gratifying to see the next generation of dancers coming along—some actually with talent—these two pieces were definitely of the recital variety with no place on a professional stage.
Hosein’s choreography for her own company, however, intrigued. She works on an intimate level—short duets, solos, and one trio. Though danced in a contemporary vein, they reminded me of Leonid Jacobson who also choreographed on a small scale. Hosein does good work within the parameters she sets for herself. For this program she divided the program into works of “internal chaos” and “controlling chaos”—distinctions not all that relevant or even visible. More important was that the choreographer employed a well-chosen imaginative vocabulary which produced choreographies with emotional resonance. There was wholeness about each piece which makes one look forward to where else Hosein will take her endeavors.
In the tightly structured “Approximate Proximity” Hosein, a tall dancer with a shaved head partnered short, stocky Rebecca Gilbert in a kneeling duet. Tiny reaches and gestures expanded and contracted accordion-like until the increasing hostility sent Gilbert storming off-stage. “As the Owl Tremors,” looked at the growth of a relationship after Amanda Whitehead accidentally bumped into Ambika Dee who had popped up from nowhere. At first trembling with uncertainty and ambiguity, the women delicately connect with each other through finding a common physical language.
Hosein is a long-limbed reasonably expressive dancer but the three strung-together solos by Nina Haft, Wendy Rein and Shaunna Vella for “Chaos Triptych” did not amount to much beyond showcasing Hosein. Her own trio, the new “Choose Your Own Title,” however, had a pleasant sense of the unexpected and accidental about it for much of its duration though its ideas eventually ran dry.
The premieres of the three after-intermission controlling-chaos solos stepped into a more theatrically telling arena. Each piece was concise, navigating emotionally ambiguous terrain with considerable aplomb. “Solo For the Self/Restricted II” tied Whitehead to four rubber bands attached to the floor. Though they, of course, ultimately restricted her movements, their range was remarkably ample. What at first had looked like a gimmicky idea turned out to be an emotionally nuanced portrayal of anguish, persistence and strength. This was a case of an obvious metaphor well explored.
A mix of seriousness and hilarity, “Addicted to Wolves” showcased the splendid Gilbert as Little Red Riding Hood being lured into the forest (projected on the floor). Hoise used Tom Waits’ “Now She’s Dead” to delicious effect for this study of internal and external seduction.
Addiction of a different kind was the topic of the slightly melodramatic “EffrexorTrazadoneBuprionTemazapamKolonopin Or I Do.” A bride (Mica Miro), surrounded by dozens of empty pill containers, is trying to decide between two types of being hooked—pills versus marriage. A chandelier, at the end of the runway, beckoned temptingly. Its lampshades, it turns out are empty pill bottles. Miro dipped and blundered between these two unattractive choices, stuffing her gown with bottles, biting into a lampshade. In the end she closed her eyes and numbly nodded, and we never learned which way the decision went
"Hosein is to be applauded" for a "delightful and ambitious... celebration of the skilled physicality present in this group... particularly pleasing."
-- Voice of Dance
"...her dances probe the unconscious forces that drive our human behavior. Hosein’s choreography at times accesses disturbing images but always with an understanding that vulnerability is an essential aspect of the human condition. "
"[Hosein's] choreography incorporates inventive, kinesthetically satisfying choreography that unfolds effortlessly in series of abstract images, which through design, rhythmic, and spatial components create a satisfying unified whole"
-- David Popalisky, SCU