Flash Flashback, 10-18: Music First, Dance Always — Donna Scro Samori Frees the Space at Danspace

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Donna Scro Samori and Nicole Smith in their “Wombed.” Photo copyright Sean Duckett and courtesy Freespace Dance.

By and copyright Nicholas Birns

(Originally published on July 6,2011.)

NEW YORK — Donna Scro Samori’s New Jersey-based Freespace Dance took a provocative step in its self-produced program last week-end at St. Mark’s Church, part of Danspace Project’s Dance Access program, by opening with a strictly musical performance. The force of the two introspective and melancholic, alternately soaring and brooding pieces, Amanda Harberg’s “Eagles; Flight” and “The Storm,” as performed by Harberg on piano and Brett Deubner on viola, was heightened by the sense of sacred space present in the performance, the seating and performance space being roughly the same as it is for St. Mark’s Church services. Having attended many performances in this space over the years, I have seen the audience and performers positioned in virtually very conceivable configuration, but there was something simple and beautiful about the spectators facing the altar, as it were, which was heightened by the austere, uncloying, yet very intense and, with a very small ‘r,’ romantic music.

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