FrenetiCore, a dance company known for its experimental and multimedia works, has created a mature movement narrative that's all soul and contemplation in Memoriam. The dance/film hybrid features a young woman as its central subject, a twenty-something urbanite who can't seem to shake the ghosts of her past in order to build a more substantive future. A wrecked specter of her childhood nags her, as does the suicide of a troubled best friend. (Or lover?) On the surface, Memoriam is about what happens when memories become prime movers of the present, but its core examination deals with the dangers of allowing one's being to be shaped by perpetual introspection, a cycle that will never change no matter how many times it's revisited.
Mollie Miller is a fitting choice to dance the piece's central character. In the opening sequence, she breaks away from sleep and spirals and turns in bewilderment. Miller's face is earnest and sincere in her befuddlement as she scans the bare set and audience for answers. Where is she in her life? Where is she at this exact moment? She moves with the restrained hesitance of a lightweight hangover, but with a grace and control that underscore the life answers she is searching for.
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In a filmed sequence by FrenetiCore Co-Founder Robert Thoth, the source of much of Miller's misgivings is revealed. A party playmate beseeches Miller's character via Webcam to visit and have a good time. A night of drunken escapades is hinted at, and close-ups of the two ladies with wine glasses in their hands are abundant.
This embodiment of feminine fun-and-fancy free living is played by Stacey Ramsower with spunk and recklessness to spare. She's clearly a destructive force in the guise of a good time, but she's by no means an unsympathetic figure. In segments featuring The Animals' recording of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," Ramsower is shadowed by her inner demon, danced with Amazonian finesse by Kira Boerkircher, who caresses and cajoles her while also goading her on to drink her life away. Miller watches the duet motif in chilled helplessness, a reaction that is shared by the audience.
Other central figures include a crazed imp on point (Taylor Martin), a reminder of unfulfilled childhood dreams, and two mirrors of the main character (Rebecca French and Mallory Horn) as she wrestles with her unwanted memories. The subject matter is heavy, but what makes this work so enjoyable is the choreography itself -- fun, flirty and light. In its exploration of memory and self-reflection, Memoriam establishes a dichotomy of two kinds of people: There are those of us who are in a constant battle to subdue our demons, and then there are those who only truly find glory once they succumb to theirs.