Posted Sat., Sept 6, 2008

By Merilyn Jackson

The Gdansk dance company Dada von Bzdülöw presents its second Live Arts Festival show inspired by a Polish writer. Last year it was Witold Gombrowicz; this year, the dancers make witty observations on another prankster author little-known here – Stefan Themerson, who first published the pataphysical works of Alfred Jarry in English under a press with a Latinized name for the Jabberwock. It helps to hear jabberwocky and Jarry clanging in your head to see where this show is going.

The wickedly playful intent of the piece kicked in with laborious lifts, and with company founder and dancer extraordinaire Leszek Bzdyl smiling. For the last year, Philly dancer Bethany Formica worked with the group for her role as a jaded ingenue in multiple, gorgeous costume changes. (Hiroshi Iwasaki designed the 1930s period costumes and Mikolaj Traska the jazzy music.) Katarzyna Chmielewska, also a founding Dada member, danced with reckless elegance in her schoolmarm-prim garb.

Mumpitz is German vernacular for “profound nonsense,” and Rafal Dziemidok solemnly brings things to that level. A big guy prancing bare-chested in suspendered pinstripe pants, he ends the piece baring his all, a perfect Live Arts/Fringe experience – if you know where it’s coming from.

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