“Revolver,” set to a trippy guitar score by Ava Mendoza, introduces the stuttering, restless motion that persists throughout the program. Westwater arrives first, wearing royal blue trousers and a matching shirt with an extra dangling sleeve. (Claire Fleury designed the costumes, collages of sheer and opaque fabrics.) To establish the theme of vertical bending, Westwater leans back giddy, her torso swaying above firmly planted feet.
When Gries joins her, the two seem united, even when physically distant, in their navigation of agitated, weighted steps, their feet drawn to the floor like magnets. As the score swings back and forth between rhythmic, melodic passages and twisted dissonance, it sometimes seems as if they are trying to push their way out of their bodies. Madeline Best’s beautiful lighting, changing from a neutral glow to a sky blue behind the background, suggests a world beyond this enclosed world.
In keeping with the title, “Choreomaniacs,” which seems to pick up where “Revolver” leaves off, shoots wilder depths. Here, Westwater is joined by four other dancers – Alex Romania, Rakia Seaborn, Stacy Lynn Smith and Nattie Trogdon – each resolutely individual but springing from a shared impulse. After the difficult opening work, freer moments come as welcome surprises, such as the kick of a leg or a dizzying roll on the floor. The immersive music, by Mendoza and Mike Baggetta, feels like an extension of what came before, with ambient sounds added. (When a siren sounds, it can come from the loudspeakers or from the street.)
In contrast, in Westwater’s pursuit of misalignment, flashes of the opposite – rough alignments – prove satisfying, a break from the sameness of form. These works deliver much of one thing, with variation perhaps more perceptible to the performers than to the audience. But occasionally amorphousness gives rise to something like unison: a repetitive phrase of knees drawn up and feet slumped down, or two people finding silence at the same time. A different kind of harmony emerges at the end, when the dancers, except Westwater, entwine each other in soft, heavy embraces. They continue to waver and waver, but there is no doubt that they will hold each other up.
“Revolver” and “Choreomaniacs”
Through April 29 at the Chocolate Factory Theater, Queens; chocolatefactorytheater.org