April Seller’s Big Baby

As a locked my bicycle up on Lyndale, I was extremely curious about what I would see. Before I attended Girlywood at Intermedia Arts I had never seen dances by April Sellers. I had only seen one of the performers, Emily Gastineau, on stage before.

Seller’s split the evening with Kenna Cottman and Deja Stowers, as well as Laurie van Wieren. I’m going to focus only one piece here, Big Baby choreographer by April Sellers. I’ve really waited too long to do this work, so my response will be brief.

Big Baby began with a song and dance to the theme song of John Water’s Female Trouble from 1974. The dancers strut and sing-a-long to the smooth jazz number. They go on to testify, wail, confess, and flirt with the audience. There are of course one or two obligatory tantrums. The show is filled with ideas and humor. The vignettes are brief and segmented, often bookended by a costume change or a song.

Seller’s approaches dance as an expanded field that includes gives equal weight to the voice, text and movement. The text occasionally drifts into clichés, but on balance is witty and on point. Considering the separate elements of voice, acting, and dance that comprised Big Baby each element was adequate, but in my memory the speaking has drown out the dancing.

Emily Gastineau’s fantastic embodiment of her character in body and voice was a highlight in the performance. Tim Rehborg’s jumping solo, near the climax of the dance also stands out. Unfortunately, just as the persistent energy of this moment began to emerge, the scene began to transition. Abrupt and frequent transitions and costume change peppered the piece, slowing the dance’s momentum.

April Seller’s proved that she is capable of nuance, even if more often than not she hits the nail right on the head. Her interest in the voice, gibing humor, and campy sense of staging has sparked my interested and I look forward to seeing more.

–Eben K

Big Baby
April Sellers
GIRLYWOOD, Intermedia Arts
October 9th-11th, 2014

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