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Foreign Fling (1986)

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Choreography: Dawn Kramer
Performance: Dawn Kramer and extras
Live music: David Moss
Sets: Pieter Smit
Video: Joe Briganti
Commissioned by New Works grant from the Massachusets Cultural Council

On tour in Holland with Dance Collective in 1985, I was surrounded by people speaking only Dutch. Although they knew English, I felt excluded by their speaking a language I did not understand. By coincidence, it was Pieter Smit, a Dutch set designer who worked with me to build this mountain of dysfunctional communication technologies: broken TV’s, radios, turntables, telephones. Composer/performer David Moss and I had a rather uncommunicative conversation, using shards of mysterious, invented spoken and movement languages.


The most intriguing piece of the evening was Dawn Kramer’s new work, Foreign Fling. A collaboration with David Moss, a vocalist who feeds his voice through electronic devices to create his own language, this dance was a frantic look at communication, and over-communication. Kramer’s exceptional stage intensity and Moss’s brilliant vocal technique created an exhilarating dance. After climbing a mountainous sculpture of old television sets and radios created by Pieter Smit, Kramer engaged in a sensory duel with Moss, matching his wild sounds with her own crazed dance. The two seemed to gain energy from each other, and neither would let go. It was an arresting work.

- Andrew Dreyfus, The Tab, December, 1986
In choreographer Dawn Kramer’s new work, Foreign Fling, composer David Moss appeared as a co-performer with her. Initially the two were hidden in two imposing sculptures by Pieter Smit: a huge boom box and a rough-hewn wooden structure that held decrepit television sets and assorted old electronic parts.

Kramer emerged from behind one of the televisions and mounted the pyramid with swaying acrobatic motions, balancing briefly at the peak before abruptly dropping out of sight behind. Moss then burst from the mock radio and proceeded to sing in foreign sounding words, weirdly amplified and echoing, as Kramer did a puppet-like dance.

The piece ended as several paired dancers moved about robotically, opening their mouths in voiceless chorus, while Kramer tried desperately to run up the mound of television sets. The work provided a gripping metaphor for the pervasive power of the media to shape and control our psyches.

- Tom Hogan, The Patriot Ledger, December, 1986