and her quietly eloquent dancers created landscapes of fragile, mysterious beauty.
Ms. Fenleys gift for shifting formal patterns and the transparency of
her performers, all women, were even more important. She and her five dancers
might have been a tribe of solemn young virgin warriors in "Water Courses,"
set to music and evocative text by the poet Joy Harjo that suggested with welcome
delicacy a world of female need, regret and anger. The piece is built around
a continual but unobtrusive drowing in and pulling away froma magnetic center
in richly layered patterning, with the dancers moving as if impelled by sudden
breathlike bursts of energy. Ms. Fenleys new "Kuro Shio," set
to a vivid score by Bun-Ching Lam, was even richer. Here the performers might
have been alert atoms moving thorugh space in orderly but unpredicable progressions.
At times the women were totems. At other times they paired and moved as one.
Each was a secret, at play in an inscrutable world filled with tension and an
Jennifer Dunning, The New York Times, November 21, 2003
a beautiful, flowing duet, full of sweeps and curls, twists and curlicues
classic in outline, modern in manner. The two of them go handsomely together,
Fenley gamely keeping pace with Peter Boals natural and tireless virtuosity."
Clive Barnes, New York Post, January 18, 2002
dancing was a marvel of strength, discipline and inner focus. The precision
and artistry can captivate you whether you know the fine points or not."
Sharon McDaniel, The Palm Beach Post, January 7, 2001
I thought Molissa Fenleys dancing in her modern solos couldnt be
beat, Peter Boals tour de force in "State of Darkness" nailed
me to my chair. It was a triple whammy: Fenleys gripping choreography
set to Stravinskys "Rite of Spring" plus Boals powerhouse
Sharon McDaniel, The Palm Beach Post, January 7,2001
has "the ability to translate images of nature into dance with sheer elegance."
Gia Kourlas, Time Out NY, February 7, 2000
"She is noted
for her enormous strength in commanding a large stage during solo concerts.
The delicate effect of Fenleys small frame, her finesse and superb attention
to each tiny detail of gesture all belie her great stamina and muscularity.
It was a treat to watch a performer like this in an intimate space. The audience
could almost reach out and touch her at moments. Any flaw, and there were none
that I could see, would stand out disturbingly."
Jennifer Noyer, Albuquerque Journal, May 16, 2000
the perfection of grace. Her limbs, ankles, wrists, torso, head, neck, all connected
through an incredibly sinuous spine, are trained to act together or apart with
transparent coordination transparent because you are only aware of flow
and arabesque and a breathtaking sense of freedom, never of the tremendous physical
strength and discipline that must be there to support it."
Stephen Pedersen, The Chronicle-Herald, May 26, 1999
"Timbral Inventions", would very likely be a beauty in any setting.
Essentially a closely worked series of shifting groups and lines in three flowing
sections, the piece creates a sense of luminously vital space on the stage.
Seven dancers, all women, stand motionless at the start of this invitingly peaceful,
reflective piece. They never travel far, sometimes even dancing in place. Their
moving bodies retain Ms. Fenleys signature image of columnar centers and
articulated limbs. The intricately plotted, slow-shifting permutations through
which they slip are the inheritance of 1960s dance post-modernism in New
Jennifer Dunning, The New York Times, August 14, 1999
quietly cerebral solos are more an exploration of an inner life than a bravura
display. The affectations of a classically trained dancer were not a part of
Boals performance. He was able both to effectively emulate Fenleys
style of movement and to bring his own emphasis and shape to the role. After
seeing Fenley dance "Tala" to open the evening, watching Boal was
somewhat eerie, not because of the expected differences in training and backgrounds,
but instead because the two bodies moved similarily and seemingly with the same
inspiration, yet made different artistic decisions. Though "State of Darkness" is an abstract work, it allowed Boal to be emotionally expressive."
Caitlin Sims, Dance Europe, Oct/Nov 1999
"The two women
were radiant: One danced, the other played the cello. And Thursday's spectacle
of Molissa Fenley and Joan Jeanrenaud together in perfect sympathy at Theater
Artaud was deeply satisfying for dance and music lovers alike."
Octavio Roca, San Francisco Chronicle, May 8, 1999
call Fenley a maximalist; building on solid modern dance training, she uses
every muscle in her grueling, elegant choreography, slipping into movements
from other cultures if they supply the appropriate response to an emotional
impulse. Yet the body remains so beautifully balanced through its central axis
that the risk-taking nature of the choreography is always offset by a certain
poise, even serenity....It's downright surprising these days to find phrase
making of the clarity of Fenley's; she almost seems like an anachronism in an
age when rigor is deemed dated and restrictive. Friday's pieces looked as fresh
as the morning...Fenley is at the height of her considerable powers."
Allan Ulrich, San Francisco Examiner, February 8, 1997
the signature is in asymmetrical shapes, a contrast between a curved back and
the angles or straight lines of a dancer's arms and a surprising number of shifts
of weight and dynamics. Yet repeatedly, Ms. Fenley's choice of collaborators
changes our view of her work. Trace is an ingenious example in which
costumes, décor and sound enhance the dancing in an original way and
yet do not dominate."
Anna Kisselgoff, The New York Times, January 30, 1997
"Channel is minimal, reverent...the onstage musicians who play Somei Satoh's silence-filled Sanyo (Akikazu Nakamura on shakuhachi and Masako Kawamura on koto) are as interesting to watch as Fenley....Looking slightly like a Cretan snake goddess, Fenley slowly manipulates objects designed by Richard Serra. A large, gleaming, split-open fish becomes shield, platter, mirror. Her arms echo the shape of a heavy suspended bronze ring."
Deborah Jowitt, The Village Voice, February 9, 1993
and integrity of Molissa Fenley's solo dancing and choreography, with her adventurous
exploration of contemporary music, came to the fore here with three premieres
on Saturday night at the Joyce Theater."
Anna Kisselgoff, The New York Times, January 20, 1992
has extraordinary control of her body. Strength, deliberation and discipline
combine with an incredible grace in Fenley's dances. Her performance at the
American Dance Festival proved that one dancer can fill a stage and satisfy."
The Herald Sun, June 23, 1993
sculpture consists of a suspended silvery figure, a white plaster female statue
standing at a tilt and two others slightly raised in a lying position. Into
this possible tomb and shrine, Ms. Fenley, hair cropped close, red torso and
face glowing, wanders in, while Alvin Lucier's sustained electronic chord suggests
an eternity. The choreography has the flattened, hingelike arms and plies of
Ms. Fenley's contemplative solos. Here, however, her focus, grandiloquent in
its concentration, is directed outward. Acolyte and priest, she works up to
approaching the standing statue and even puts her arm around it. There is a
sense of nameless ritual as the worshiper, through willed power, reaches a godly
Anna Kisselgoff, The New York Times, October 9, 1993