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Pipe Dream (1990)

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Co-choreographed by Judith Chaffee, Martha Armstrong Gray and Dawn Kramer
Section in Video Choreography: Dawn Kramer
Performers: Ann Brown Allen, Judith Chaffee, Judy Cohen.\, Martha Armstrong Gray, Jamie Huggins, Nicole Huggins, Dawn Kramer, Stanford Makishi, Carlo Rizzo, Micki Taylor Pinney
Lighting: Stephen Buck
Commissioned Music: Caleb Sampson
Costumes: Penelope Gardner
Set: Scaffolding loaned by Lynn Ladder
Commissioned by First Night and Dance Umbrella.

A full-evening work on multi-level scaffolding, presented in the Boston Center for the Arts’ Cyclorama, Back Bay Train Station, Prudential Center Mall Atrium, Towson State College, Maryland


Best of all is the beginning. “Pipe Dream” starts with a dancer hurling himself onto a ramp that leads up to the scaffolding’s lowest platform. He somersaults his way up, rolls down, goes up and down again, over and over, in bruise-inducing, furious choreography. More dancers enter, creeping and lurching their way up the ramp, embarking on a desperate pilgrimage. They look like bugs, fish jumping upstream, Spiderman, or sausages packed in a row, falling out of their box. However wild the movement, though, it does rely on such a technical niceties as stretched legs and pointed feet, and it is elegant.

-Christine Temin, The Boston Globe, November 11, 1990

When the collaboration does work, it takes your breath away. Witness Stanford Makishi’s opening tour de force of rattling limbs, clanging rolls, and hovering still points. He catapults over a row of nine dancers, packed tight as a roll of Oscar Meyer wieners, only to crash land in a flurry of bone against mat. Then he clatters up and down the ramp in rolls that bring to mind rolling hemp. Knocked off kilter from a sit his flexed wrist chest high, he rolls into a high powered coil then shoots skyward is if propelled from the spout of a whale. ...The ten (dancers) transmogrify into ricocheting billiard balls, then into a menagerie of climbing, clawing, leapfrogging creatures. Jamie Huggins falls out of the group, a lone inchworm looping up the ramp. Ann Brown Allen crawls over the others’ cascading torsos, she’s like water dripping over rocks. A team of intrepid scouts, they greet the upper levels with the wonderment of children chancing upon a giant jungle gym....

Thea Singer, The Boston Phoenix, November 16, 1990