Review: A dance through time in “More Forever”
Caleb Teicher & Company celebrate, reinvent tap
By Susan Saccoccia
Both Teicher and Tao are former teen prodigies and, now in their mid-20s, they are artists of worldwide renown who relish adventurous collaborations. New York Magazine has described Tao as “shaping the future of classical music,” and last year Dance Magazine named Teicher “Best Emerging Choreographer.”
Teicher and the six members of Caleb Teicher & Company (CT&Co) are steeped in American dance traditions and drawn to their endless capacity for reinvention. In “More Forever,” Teicher and his company combine Tao’s piano music with the sound and sight of sanding, a tap technique that predates metal-tipped shoes, as they explore American dance forms such as tap and the Harlem-born Lindy Hop.
In their hands, which strew the sound-sharpening grains across the stage, sand also becomes a visual cue — a shared marker of their common cause and also a reminder of time, as in an hourglass.
“More Forever” moves through time and the evolving cultural history of America. Celebrating street-honed dance traditions, the work also becomes an ode to the finite gift of time that allows and brackets all experiences — a poignant touch by these young artists, who have ample time to come.
“More Forever” is a work of seamless collaboration, its pianist dancing with his keyboard and its dancers making music with their bodies.
The piece opens with a piano prelude by Tao, whose musical vocabulary is a foretaste of the dancing with its shifts in mood, tone and tempo — varying from pensive and melodic passages to clanging, high-energy bursts of sound, with silence in between.
Tao himself is a riveting performer, not only with his music but also, highlighted by Wong’s lighting, in the arc of his hands as they hover over the keys. And as he walks offstage or later sits Buddha-like on the floor and plucks a toy piano, its clinks keeping time with the dancers’ feet, his spare movement seems as choreographed as the dancing of his partners.
Soon Tao is joined by Teicher, who is first heard, not seen, on a darkened stage, as he injects into Tao’s piano solo the scraping rhythm of his feet sweeping sand across the surface of a custom-built platform. As the light rises, the sonic duet between feet and keyboard expands into a spectacular dance performance. Teicher’s feet scrape, crunch, stomp, ripple and scour the floor as he crosses the stage with daredevil prowess in leaps, lyrical loops, and rapid-fire legwork. Meanwhile, he sifts sand onto the floor, its grains falling in a column that, backlit, resembles a veil.