Innovation is often born out of constraint. The core of TBA’s popular Ten Tiny Dances is the magic of making a lot from a little. Ten choreographers are invited to develop original performances designed for a humble four-by-four-foot stage. Sunday night marked the twenty-fifth iteration of this Portland tradition since it was founded in 2002.
Unfortunately Ten Tiny Dances had a lot to contend with: a half-hour late start and a densely packed room that was sweltering through one of the hottest nights of the year. Some performers succumbed to the lethargy in the air while others soared above the unfavorable circumstances and put on unforgettable shows.
The most compelling dance was the hauntingly exceptional No Nukes performed by Kemumaki Yoko, who embodied her twitching mechanical persona so completely that at times even her pupils appeared to be distorted. Her movements exploded through her body in a startling fusion of vulnerability and possessive force.
Cyndey Wilkes and Mike Barber were terrific in the mischievously seductive Wicked. Bonus points to Taylor Mac for revealing his genitalia in a quirkily abrupt strip tease. Other notable tactics included incorporating laser lights, flooding the small platform with a swarm of musicians and instruments, and smashing the tiny stage to smithereens with a frenzied axe.