Ten Tiny Dances
posted by Seth Needler
Ten Tiny Dances, a TBA institution, took place on Saturday night at the Works to an overflowing, enthusiastic audience. In ways great and small, Ten Tiny Dances both encapsulates and reflects the essence of what TBA is. Unfortunately, the first three dances were all a bit lackluster, giving many who had waited a long time to get in pause to wonder whether it was going to be worth it.
As anyone could have predicted, it was – and then some.
Dayna Hanson, who I had had the pleasure of seeing perform earlier the same evening, kicked things up about 12 notches with a high-energy reprise performance of one of the sharpest, funniest vignettes from their show, Gloria’s Cause. A tall, bearded, bespectacled man stood center stage, wearing a wig and dressed in a Revolutionary War uniform, delivering a “Colonial Rap” in the guise of our favorite President, and then proceeded to break dance, as the rest of the troupe danced around him and Hanson’s talented musicians played from behind the rows of seats.
Linda Austin, a Portland institution in her own right, followed with a brilliant solo piece in which she slowly emerged from a giant paper flower that enveloped the entire tiny stage.
Next was La Chaim Crimes & Punishment by Wooly Mammoth Comes to Dinner, a troupe which had escaped my notice until now but in the future will not. Three women, at times bare-chested, made strange noises and delivered statements that were provocative while also somehow being somewhat banal.
Tahni Holt’s Culture Machine: Satellite No. 6 was hilarious yet thought-provoking, as four costumed dancers faced four directions off the stage and took turns identifying themselves as every past and present cultural icon you can think of and many you can’t, from John Lennon to Ronald Reagan to Brittany Spears – reminding us that, in a way, we are all of them and they are all us. Isn’t America great?