The Short-Cut premiered at the Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, May 2005. The work, for five dancers and one actor, is loosely based on the work of turn of the century efficiency expert and factory manager Fredrick Winslow Taylor. The dance looks at the ongoing tension between needing time to reflect and the constant press to get things done. With commissioned score by Thomas Cabaniss for two pianos, string quartet and percussion, and original text by novelist Helen Schulman. The Short-Cut is one hour in length.
‘"The Short-Cut" and its mysterious, textured score by Thomas Cabaniss build almost imperceptibly. So does the portrayal of Taylor by Steven Rattazzi, an actor of impressive subtlety, who echoes a choreographer at rehearsal. Ms. Easton's dancers - Blossom Leilani, Aaron Draper, Emily Stone, Brian Gerke and Leslie Cuyjet - manage to suggest drab young factory workers unlike the vividly human, gifted movers that they are. But then Ms. Easton herself is a humanist. And "The Short-Cut" feels almost visionary in its simple affirmation of the magic of art and the human spirit.’
Jennifer Dunning, The New York Times
“If I've made the hour-long piece sound cut and dried, I've given the wrong impression. The Short-Cut is rich in contrasts. And Easton has directed the performers in such a way that her choreographic language clearly stands for their life's work in all its glory. In one session, Leilani copies Draper to learn a long diagonal progression, gradually adding her own imaginative ideas to his and, with him, creating something finer. The way people pause and gaze slightly upward as if needing time to think, watch one another carefully and sympathetically, and collaborate on complex clusters and chains and lifts not only endears them to us; it redirects how we construe dancing. Thomas Cabaniss's recorded score for piano, strings, and percussion plays a vital role in shaping our perceptions—providing stentorian, driving drum passages; tumbling piano sequences; achingly sweet violin melodies; and much more.”
Deborah Jowitt, May, 2005, The Village Voice
“Easton’s sense of stage movement and direction is especially keen; neither the eye nor the awe wanders. Tableaux spring and spin into action, a mellifluous unmingling of limbs as the group separates. Long reaches, circling arms, deep lunges, centrifugal lifts, leaps and weighted movement fill this repetitious aerobic lecture demonstration, in solos and duets, trios and quartets. Humor is infused into the exercises as dancers race through activities, coached on with positive and negative reinforcement by their fellow performers.”
Brian McCormick, May, 2005 Gay City News