Two strong, young choreographers disappoint in different ways at DTW this week. Andrea Miller, whose Gallim Dance has demonstrated sharp new visions, struggles in “For Glenn Gould,” a sextet in which Gould’s limpid recordings of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” share the environment with a lot of junk. The piece starts with powerful images; when she’s on her game, Miller shows us bodies each of whose limbs has a mind of its own while she controls the stage picture. But here she’s collaborating with her performers, and the whole enterprise goes slack.
Her fine dancers build personal shrines out of traffic cones, plastic jugs and personal detritus; one structure features Christmas lights, another an electric fan. Several people offer powerful solos. The Gould recordings are intercut with random bits of other music. The piece ultimately blacks out, as if Miller simply couldn’t finish.
The score for Sidra Bell’s “POOL” consists of 12 different pieces of noisy contemporary music, much of it sung in German; the 40-minute work has an epigraph from yet another band. There may have been compelling dancing in it, by a cast of seven, but it was hard to tell; Vincent Vigilante’s lighting would suit a disco more than a dance theater. As a result, the black-clad performers, wearing Alexandra Johnson’s shiny tights and sparkly tops, are rarely fully visible. “POOL” evokes a nightmare not unlike “Black Swan.”
The dancers mostly move alone; when they touch they usually approach one another from behind. Bell has a theme here, something about a near-drowning, but submerging her piece in darkness doesn’t help it.