Fleming's 'Eros' is impressionistic and sculptural

March 22, 1994|By J. L. Conklin | J. L. Conklin,Special to The Sun

Watching choreographer and performer Maureen Fleming is like watching a magician. She demands that we suspend our rational beliefs. Ms. Fleming and her solo work, "Eros," presented by Dance on the Edge at Towson State University during the weekend, astounded the audience with stunning imagery. It was part dance, part sculpture and part dream.

"Eros" consists of seven sections, loosely tied to the Greek myth of Eros and Psyche. Ms. Fleming's work is not narrative, but rather impressionistic and deeply rooted in the traditions of Japanese Butoh theater.

Ms. Fleming's "Eros" was reminiscent of her work "Water on the Moon," with several motifs reappearing. Much like a recurring dream, certain images or situations resonate throughout her works. Light, music, film and various props -- a staircase, a reflecting pool, gossamer fabric -- help Ms. Fleming create atmospheres that have the essence of a vision.

The work opened with Ms. Fleming curled on top of a steep staircase. Slowly rising, she pulls a long white translucent fabric about her nude figure. Lowering her body imperceptibly to the edge of the stairs, she begins her descent, headfirst, trailing the fabric behind her. The image is visceral.

In another section, we see only her face, upside down. When the lights are brought up, we see she is balanced on her head. Then she slowly extends her limbs.

Ms. Fleming's body is a miracle of change. She is capable of creating form that is abstract and totally sculptural.

Her movements are so slow that one often has to look away, then back, in order to discern movement. Her body unfolds like a flower opening to the sun.

When she twirled a staff or danced with filmy fabric, she gave both visual and dramatic relief. Ms. Fleming may ask a lot of her viewers, but her rewards are considerable.

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