Featuring Vladimir Golubev and Iguan Dance Theater
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Presented by The American Dance Festival
Durham, North Carolina

A combination of mini folk concert, poetry slam, childish antics, and dance, Vladimir Golubev’s nearly thirty-minute solo “Not Unsteady Support” was meandering, at times slow, somewhat incomprehensible, yet ultimately downright charming.

The piece, presented at the American Dance Festival on Sunday, jumped all over the place without notice and without clear connections between any of the elements. Golubev played a guitar and sang in Russian perched on a stool, like an amateur musician in a coffeehouse. He soon lost interest in this activity and “flew” around the stage with a drying rack as wings before returning to the guitar. A condom that fell out of the guitar compelled Golubev to put it on his head, blow it up, and introduce a tumbling dance phrase. When that failed to keep his interest, he read some words in heavily accented English, paper in hand, explaining, among other things how the sliver of the moon is in fact God’s clipped fingernail.

Golubev didn’t provide any thread to tie the segments together. The speed with which he moved between them demanded great patience, perhaps a bit too much. His recitation of the text printed in the program notes felt redundant. Yet the earnestness with which he read the words, his determination to blow up that condom on his head, and his plea to the audience not to applaud after the work in order to maintain a respectful environment for the next piece (a request the audience immediately denied) was somehow endearing.

The performance, which he wrote was “devoted” to the birth of his son, captured a child-like wonderment in its exploration of props (or perhaps, toys), its constant shifts in focus, and its brief attention span for any one activity. Though it wasn’t always engaging and was frequently a bit confusing, many times one simply couldn’t help smiling at the eagerness and innocence displayed.

“Displaced Persons”, presented by IGUAN Dance Theatre contrasted sharply with Golubev’s light, warm offering. White contemporary furniture and sleek black costumes created a cold atmosphere punctured only by three red flowers with metal stems arbitrarily placed around the set and constantly plucked to be replanted elsewhere. Choreographer Michail Ivanov and director Nina Gasteva performed small, sharp, quick gestures that matched the lines and angles of the furniture and the minimally furnished space.

Anastasia Kadrulyova, clad in a bright red dress provided stark opposition to Gasteva’s androgynous outfit. Her introduction into the piece via a shadow duet with Gasteva juxtaposed a graceful fluidity with Gasteva’s awkward physicality. Throughout the work, Kadrulyova inserted sexuality into the previously sterile and asexual space, though there never really developed a strong relationship between her and the other two performers, with the exception of a non-contact duet with Ivanov. A disturbing and mesmerizing solo featured Kadrulyova stripped to her undergarments literally breaking apart as her limbs failed to support her weight.

The color, violence, and sensuality of Kadulyova interrupted the calm of the initial environment, rearranging the space and creating a tension between order and disorder that was visually rich and entirely compelling.