The most engaging of the three dances presented by The Space/Movement Project in Kiss Kiss Missiles: A Retrospectacle is the first, with all five of the company’s dancers barefoot and wearing costumes that could almost have come out of their everyday closets with a sash or a ribbon added for the stage. A dancer wearing a flaring red skirt and dark top appears in movement as slim and supple as pulled taffy.
The uneven number of dancers in the opening means that, when couples formed, there is an odd man out, a situation evidently part of the concept. They dance to music with folk reminiscences, the stamp of Duke Ellington, of Tommy Dorsey, and strangely enough the sound of a World War II airplane. Partings and pressures of war are suggested; the choreography is indicated as “by the company.”
All this takes place beneath a dozen or more suspended red balloons that move slightly in the air currents and cast interesting shadows, as do the dancers, on the white curtain hanging at rear of the stage at the Hanke 1 venue on Main Street. The climax of the piece is the cutting down of some balloons and the bursting of others, until a final two still hang, in dim light, unreachable. The lone remaining dancer looks out and shrugs, the only time in the total performance that contact is made from stage to audience.
This opening number is followed by a duet in which both dancers don buttoned-up coats and circle warily around each other, tension palpable. Titled “Deerstalker,” it is billed as a work in progress with choreography by company member Stacy Wolfson and the two performers, so perhaps it is evolving in its sly way as we watch.
Both of these dances are new, dated this year, while the third, “Dwelling Quartet,” comes from 2009 with choreography by two of its performers. It is the most formally remote of the works, four dancers functioning as two couples with interactions by glance and by action. Deliberate shedding of ballet’s grace marks contemporary dance, which proceeds under its own rules. This Chicago-based, nonprofit contemporary dance company is adept and able, returning for its third consecutive appearance at Cincinnati Fringe.