Human Landscape Dance premiered "January Night," in Philadelphia at the Painted Bride Art Center on May 29, 30 2010. The Philadelphia/Washington DC Exchange was a shared concert with Anne-Marie Mulgrew and Dancers Co, who premiered "Burn."
Set on a frigid winter night, three close friends are snowed in, stir crazy, and unable to sleep. The dance reflects the efforts of residents of DC and Philly to cope with unusually fierce snowstorms.
In this turbulent dance, Amanda Abrams, Alexander Short, and artistic director Malcolm Shute are cast high and low in the wind. They dive and twist like snowflakes in the air, flying against each other and tumbling back to the ground.
In one corner of the stage sits a white ramp, a glimpse of snowclad streets. The dancers sled down or roll up the ramp in frantic bursts, plowing through their restless energy. Indoors, they shift uncomfortably, willing sleep to come. Abrams uses Short as a blanket: tossing and turning with him, throwing him around her shoulders, kicking him aside. Later, she sleepwalks through the house, careening dangerously across the floor. Short catches her before she falls: slipping under her arm, circling her waist, or cradling her head.
The soundscore for "January Night" was composed from winter sounds in the city: a Styrofoam cup chased down the sidewalk by the wind, lonely traffic murmur late at night, wind chimes tinkling in frosty air. Malcolm Shute received the Metro DC Dance “Excellence in Sound Design/Original Composition” award for 2007.
"January Night" takes place from sunset to bright morning. Housebound by a winter storm, a group passes a restless night sliding on ice, sleepwalking, and seeking shelter in warm bodies.
Read a review of The Philadelphia/Washington DC Exchange by Merilyn Jackson of the Philadelphia Inquirer.