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Reviews - The Reclamation

Artist Reviews
The Reclamation, Winter-2009

Hilary Easton's work has always invigorated me. I love the way the density of information in each phrase is given velocity by the savvy construction of the work as a whole. This stuff is for grown-ups. What strikes me immediately at the beginning of Easton’s newest work, The Reclamation, is the finely wrought movement. The phrases are thoroughly considered. They’re jagged and silky, elegant and chaotic, paradoxical. It takes years to develop the skill to generate movement sequences like this--so packed with detail and yet kept airborne by their own kinetic logic. It also takes the kind of mind which is truly captivated by the potential of movement. Hilary Easton has both the brain and the discipline.

David Parker-choreographer/artistic director: The Bang Group
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In a world where artists too often present photocopies of their previous works, Ms. Easton’s work doesn’t rest on her past accomplishments.  She is a risk taker and an adventurer who challenges herself and takes on new responsibilities.  As choreographer, director and writer of “The Reclamation,” Ms. Easton pays no attention to her own words of caution that haunt us throughout the piece: “Walk carefully.”  “Watch your step.”   With this piece, Easton takes brave steps toward redefining herself as an artist.

Bill Liebeskind-visual artist
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We know from the get-go who the choreographer favors, but as the piece unfolds we begin to realize that this, like Easton’s other pieces, is not a simple tale of good vs. evil.  Easton conveys this complexity through her choreography -- with characters who at first threaten and evade but then grapple and even enjoy one another often in the same moment – and through the inspired text, which evolves from simple, repeated lines that might be borrowed from hunting manuals into a gripping and personal tale of survival. The animals and humans in this piece are the wiser for having come in contact with one another – and so is the audience.

Dorothy Barnhouse-author
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The choreographic masterstroke that fascinated me was the inclusion of two actors in principal roles with the four dances. As well as the actors moved, the juxtaposition of their movement capacities with the fine dancers' movement spoke profoundly about the contrast of human-to-natural-beauty. Easton has provided the actors with text that poetically suggests the palette of views most people bring to the relationship with the wilderness. The combination of cautious, naively-controlling text and attractive but uninformed movement in the two actors in their sequences with the excellent ensemble brought me into the piece emotionally—we are both the human and have a relationship to that big nature.

Eric Booth-arts consultant, author
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“The Reclamation” is both a humble work, without elaborate staging and the sort of lighting and sound tricks that are sometimes used to plump-up a production, and a boldly ambitious one, daring to leave the vast desert of current personal/political/ psycho-sexual contemporary dance-think and re-enter the dark woods of old questions, including the very hoary one involving our strained relationship with this planet....The visual simplicity of the stage makes plain that the invitation to the audience to bring themselves to the work - to look carefully, to listen, and especially to think – is sincere and insistent.

Steven Keith-architect
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© Hilary Easton 2006