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CHOREOGRAPHIC PRESS

DanceNow at Dance Theater Workshop presents 50 works from a wide assortment of dance companies giving each artist seven minutes in which to show their stuff.  They invite you to “find your artistic crush” from among the various companies with range from emerging to mature artists.  Wednesday night, my heart went pitter-pat for Amber Sloan and Kyle Abraham.

Amber Sloan’s premiere ‘Below’ is the gem of the performance Wednesday night.  The piece begins with Matthew Rogers and Sloan slowly rolling with their heads towards the audience, blond hair and brown crashing back and forth like waves, getting progressively faster until she stops him with a swift hand to the shoulder.  Like lovers trying to find a comfortable fit, they wind in and out of each other’s space.  The tension builds as the sound of sirens becomes discordant music and the movement grows more aggressive and three dimensional.  Finally, Sloan breaks out of the pattern to sit in stillness while Rogers continues to fret, rolling back and forth.  Even confined to only seven minutes, Sloan delivers a rich and relatable story.

-Hope Davis, iDANZ

In “The Voice of the Body”, choreographed by Amber Sloan, and performed by tall, thin, elegant dancers Thomas Cruz, Emma Judkins, and Jordan Morley, genders blur as female lifts and dips male, and vice versa. All three are constantly involved in a ménage à trois of movement, and yet there is no romance; it’s more a metaphor of life itself, of the slinking and falling of human beings against one another, the turning and crashing and locomotion of the daily effort.
One segment is given over to pure beauty — and with modern dance, let us be honest, we need this — the music by John Glover takes on a subtext of the medieval, and the three engage each other in an almost graceful gavotte, although, with an eye to the experimental, there is always that third figure dragging down the flank of one in the pair of dancers.
Toward the end there is more toiling, rolling around on the floor, sleeping with breathing synchronized, crowned by Ms. Judkins standing on a prone Mr. Morley, her leg extended in arabesque. Throughout, Mr. Cruz has wandered off and on with an open book of music in his hand, and at the end he sings in a range of tenor to countertenor and back again; another grace note, again blending vocalization to the dance dynamic.[seperator]

-Holly Nadler, Martha’s Vineyard Times

Dyad: Amber Sloan — wonderful melt-together duet by Matthew Rogers and Amber Sloan dancing as one person, two people acting as one, and lovers. So in synch.

-Quinn Batson, OffOffOff

Amber Sloan’s solo rEvolve was actually a stunning duet between the dancer and a lightbulb suspended on a string from the ceiling.  Using the lightbulb as her primary lighting, Sloan set the bulb in a circular motion and stayed motionless against the back wall as her shadow circles her.  The shadow dancer seemed to crowd Sloan; she then crawled under the lightbulb, banishing the shadow.

-Sophie Ernst, Show Business Weekly

There is plenty of room in Dance Now for serious and straightforward, too, danced clearly in solos by Christopher K. Morgan, Wanjiru Kamuyu and Amber Sloan.

-Quinn Batson, OffOffOff

Three Women navigate the first Brooklyn Arts Exchange First Weekend: New Performance and Discussion Series of the new year.  Three equally strong and intriguing approaches to dance as work, as eye on the world, as life.  Barbara Mahler’s work is cool, yet sensual; so specific to her physicality the dancers appear nearly as one body moving as three.  Faye Driscoll, a keen observer and reinterpreter of ordinary movement forces us to see the everyday with new eyes, daring to repeat gestures beyond comfort, forcing us past our associations to the abstract, the absurd.  Amber Sloan does the opposite, playing with movement encumbered by literal human connections, creating emotional nuances through dancerly experiments.

Amber Sloan’s One to Three is pregnant with implied relationships.  The weighted high-energy movement, in my notes described as “70s punk crossed with disco,” is driven by breath.  Duets and trios twirl and stretch attached like marathon dancers.  Sloan is “obsessed” with the idea of physical and emotional support.  She asks, “Could you do a phrase with someone of any size?  Could you do the phrase and hold someone’s hand, for how long?  What if you were pulled in all directions?  In the extreme Hanna Kivioja-Honeycutt suspends herself from Luke Miller’s hand.  They spin.  He’s much taller than she; he curves to place his head on her shoulder as they pivot.  Their duet feels intimate though the movement is sharp, quirky, folding and unfolding in intriguing angular curves, little kicks, twists, throws threaded through the spin.  Sloan and Mahler, despite their different approaches, are interested in crafting movement.

-Carrie Stern, Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Amber Sloan’s “A Taste for Delusion” began with Andi Clegg licking what I imagined to be a tequila bodyshot off of Hanna Kivioja-Honeycutt’s shoulder and followed along those lines at length until Kivioja-Honeycutt finally grabbed Clegg’s tongue and dragged her around the stage.  It worked like a clever expansion on a basic Contact Improv exercise (finding contact points beyond the obvious) with a noticeable “The L-Word”-inspired aesthetic.

-Maura Nyugen Donohue, The Dance Insider


PERFORMANCE PRESS

And the dancers, dressed in jeans and checked shirts, perform with a lovely sense of spontaneity, none more so than Amber Sloan, who seems closer to the character of Annie than anyone else. When the piece ends, with a group reprise of “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” it’s over too soon.

-Roslyn Sulcas, NY Times

Out of everyone in Parker’s more active section, my favorite is Amber Sloan; fully committed to every movement, Parker’s piece seems tailor-made for Sloan with her noticeably long limbs and perfectly awkward, perfectly weird quirks. Love her….

-Meghan Frederick, iDANZ

Ms. Sloan performs a dream ballet, to “I Fall in Love Too Easily.” She has lovely extensions and a luscious final back bend, that de-constructs, becoming all angles, as she eventually melts in her sheer indigo dress.

-Deborah Wignet, Eye on Dance

When the stalwart Amber Sloan takes on Kazin and Petry in dancing to “Doin’ What Comes Naturally,” it’s the two men who start a variation on the famous “Dance of the Cygnets” from Swan Lake before Sloan joins to round out the trio.

These three performers embody the choreographic spine and the presentational soul of Parker’s work clawing their way to the top of the heap in a piece in which who gets what attention – from either the audience or potential partners onstage – makes up a large part of the comic subtext. One marvels at Kazin’s multiple pencil turns, fearless attack when lifted and repeated spiral descents from such lifts, Petry’s barefoot soft shoe; the redoubtable Sloan’s take-no-prisoners dancing and straight man’s sense of bewilderment when, for instance, she lifts Kazin only to find her face scissored between his calves.

-DJ McDonald, City of Glass, Arts and Culture

So, Parker, Kazin, and their dancing alter-egos, the glamorous Amber Sloan and the down-home charming Nic Petry, deliver the kind of tried and true showmanship that was also my first home before we all came Downtown (I hear the lights are brighter there).

-Maura Donohue, Culturebot

Sloan —quiet, sensuous—crosses the front of the stage in a corridor of light.

-Deborah Jowitt, The Village Voice

The pellucid Amber Sloan slams onto a rectangle of bubble wrap (we’ve been itching for her to get there!), then contorts and rebounds, launching ricocheting pops against the Glenn Miller Orchestra playing “Waltz of the Flowers.’’

-Thea Singer, The Boston Globe

But most of the movement interest lies in further duets by Mr. Petry and Ms. Sloan, both ardent, engaging performers.

-Roslyn Sulcas, NY Times

Many troupes tout their fusion of styles, but Parker and company deliver the goods, from the elegant, campy Jeffrey Kazin to the sly and delightful Amber Sloan. She more than holds her own in a rhythmic bubble wrap stomp-off against Parker, set to Glenn Miller’s take on “Waltz of the Flowers.”

-Claudia La Rocco, Associated Press

Amber Sloan came out stage left with a six-foot length of bubble wrap, which she placed on the ground, rather as one would put down a beach towel to lie on the sand. Dancing in her bare feet, the sounds of her steps were soon created as the bubbles broke under her continually more energetic dancing. Her bravura performance was receiving applause when Nic Petry arrived stage left with a square , maybe 14”, of bubble wrap, laid it on the ground at his side of the stage, and was soon dancing as vibrantly as Amber, with as much sound effects, in that much constricted space. The audience laughed and applauded and hooted their delight.

-Francine L. Trevens, ART TIMES

And while we’re on engaging performers, Amber Sloan, in Sara Hook’s richly evocative “Rue” is a compelling mess. Hook’s penchant for awkward and vaguely discomforting heroines is well met by Sloan. She’s a discarded rag doll in hot pink hair and silver lashes whose violent falls make me flinch while keeping me thoroughly enthralled.

-Maura Nguyen Donohue, Danceinsider

The charismatic Amber Sloan joined Parker, Kazin and Kathryn Tufano for a disturbing finale, “Enough,” set to music by Rachmaninoff. The dance summons up a reckless party that’s gone way out of bounds, and everybody there is out to steal someone else’s date, without regard to gender.

-Theodore Bale, Boston Herald

Thus it was his oldest piece, a duet in silence called “We’re Not Married,” that fared best in this venue. It’s a tight piece and works in a tight space. The mordantly matched Jeffrey Kazin and Amber Sloan, in identical tight blue jeans, skinny white sleeveless t-shirts, and spectator shoes, essayed the soft shoeing percussive intercourse that makes this dance, whose sounds are its score, into an entire epic of a relationship. They were intense and interesting, and I loved seeing this piece from 1990 again. It would, in fact, be interesting to see it in various other ways—such as with two men, or two women—but I can’t imagine a better way.

-Nancy Dalva, Dance View Times

For sheer fun-not to mention a handy demonstration of how to fake tap dance sounds in bare feet-Amber Sloan bounces, tumbles and jumps and “taps” on a sheet of bubble wrap, performing with the exuberance of a child creating his own game, but also taking her cues form the musical beat.

-Susan Reiter, Dance View Times

Best of all was a stand-alone piece in which Amber Sloan went to great lengths to avoid a rectangle of bubble-wrap before plunging onto it and dancing to the sound of popping plastic and the “Nutcracker” snowflakes music.

-Jennifer Dunning, NY Times

Amber Sloan performed Rue (1998), an intriguing solo by Sara Hook Dances. Wearing a bright pink wig and neutral-colored leotard and tights, she looked like an awkward, overgrown doll. She twisted limbs against torso, tying herself in knots before thudding to the ground. Treading the line between uncertainty and striving, the dance projected both humor and pathos.

-Wendy Perron, Dance Magazine