‘other stories’: Is it rough sex or domestic violence?

Simon Thomas-Train and Toni Melaas perform “other stories” at Joyce SoHo through April 21.

Whose view of a situation is the most accurate one? What are the essential elements of a tale? Alexandra Beller, a longtime member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company now celebrating the 10th anniversary of her  own troupe, explores these questions in movement and words, as well as a unique form of sign language, in “other stories.”

Beller’s collaborators — director of photography Martijn Hart, composer Robert Poss and dramaturg Katherine Profeta — support her vision, as do designers Amanda K. Ringger (lighting), Karen Young (costumes) and Brian Ireland (set).

In addition to her dancers, Beller invites to each performance a different downtown star, whose improv­isations are incorporated into the choreography. This forces the cast members — Lea Fulton, Toni Melaas, Edward Rice, Kendra Portier, Simon Thomas-Train and Beller — to think on their feet, both learning and teaching on the fly. They’re all credited as choreographers, along with a few others, as well.

Slithery beauty Jennifer Nugent was guest artist on opening night, sliding her lean, muscular form in all directions both center stage and inside a small structure that traveled the stage and threw shadows on the wall. Hart’s video positioned the event in a city street and subway. Viewers also peered through a window at a couple’s interaction. 

Wearing casual clothing, the dancers approached and dodged each other, sharing and interrupting, throwing sentence fragments and blocked gestures. Only Beller spoke straightforwardly, recapitulating an elusive story in the final moments of the hour-long work.

Beller’s “other stories” runs in repertory with programs by Decadancetheatre (an all-female hip-hop group) and Skybetter and Associates, through April 21.

If you go

‘other stories’
Through April 21
Joyce SoHo
155 Mercer St.
$15-$20, 212-242-0800


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