In the contemporary dance world, a new solo by Keith Hennessy would normally open with some ballyhoo, and on a weekend evening, around 8pm. That’s not happening this time.
For all the forthrightness of its title, Back (all I wanna do is dance and fuck and swim with you) is presented modestly and almost furtively, over a cluster of six odd days (one purposefully not listed but only advertised by word-of-mouth), at off hours, and for a ticket price that starts at a judgment-free zero.
The audience that shows up, amid Back’s low-key promotion and off-kilter schedule, will huddle on the floor of the CounterPulse stage for an hour, in the semi-round, before the mostly naked, mostly silent sixty-something dancer-choreographer.
The near-silence will be the most conspicuous detail for admirers of Hennessy’s work, which frequently features dazzling torrents of words, whether as monologue, rhyme, lecture or screed. He is a master of the extended curtain speech, a form of audience ambuscade few besides Hennessy can really get away with. (This time, he says, he’s limiting himself to five minutes.)
Almost nothing about Hennessy’s new work is typical. Frantic, screaming, dizzying and doomy times like these, he seems to be suggesting, call for something altogether softer, subtler, and bare.