Catey Ott’s ‘Total Emersion’ at Danceworks
Raised in Milwaukee, having earned an MFA in dance from UWM, and now living in New York City, Ott has perhaps composed a letter home about a stage in her lifeâ€™s journey. Her program notes describe a process from naïve faith that talent and desire are enough to reach oneâ€™s goals, through depression and confusion, to a balanced view achieved in communion with others. The concert ends with a group dance celebrating collectivity, the twins of vanity and self-doubt overcome.
Although these are poignant ideas, Iâ€™m sorry that the concert didnâ€™t work for me. At the curtain call, as Ott sweetly thanked the full house, a dancer gave her flowers with unguarded affection. This touching moment was in contrast to the narrated emotions of the dancing. There were passages of loveliness and intrigue, but I never felt close to the dancers because the controlled, repetitive, tame choreography did not individualize them. The partnering could have been much more meaningful. Itâ€™s a young company and the work may deepen. Atmospheric music was used to create mood; Diana Yourkeâ€™s unaccompanied singing was splendid.