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Jaw Grind – Allison Jones

September 21, 2009

New York, New York.

The boys and girls in this dance are all dressed the same: ripped brown, gray, or black shirts and long brightly colored fake eyelashes. The movement and faces can only be described as ‘fierce’, the ever present word in current dance culture. But this was no common fierce dance. This was sexy fierce, desperation fierce, glamorous self-destruction fierce, New York fierce. And the dancers locked eyes with the audience, slinking, popping, swooping, with both elusive attractiveness and fatal narcissism. Allison Jones, a recent Purchase College graduate, was able to encapsulate the flashy, exotic, ‘fierce,’ young New York crowd but contrasted with the repetitious song explaining that New York, however glamorous and wonderful, gives nothing in return except a ‘jaw grind’ and ‘disposition to a panic attack.’ The Incumbent by Soul Coughing:

It’s an interesting dance coming from someone who has most likely moved to New York for the first time, or has at least never spent 7 years in it, as the song states. Although the song clearly warns about the dangers of moving to New York City, she is going ahead and doing it, and with that self-awareness it seems that the dance is more about the glamorization of the break down, of being crushed by an overbearing emotion, then about the actual crushing.

Credit: Breegan Kearney

Credit: Breegan Kearney

The real question is whether this was intentional or not. It isn’t clear if the dance is really about Lindsay Lohan-esque downfalls and the alluring nature of fatal beauty. It might just be a self-reflexive look at some emerging artists within New York City and how they view the world. Perhaps it is somewhere in between, realizing the stress of New York City but knowing there is no place better to be. Regardless of intention, it was an incredible dance to watch and I hope to see more of her in the future.

Did you have a different interpretation of the dance?

Do you see this trend in today’s artists or is it an over simplification?

Did you feel that the dance was calling attention to this glamorization or was it merely the glamorization?

Have you ever worn long brightly colored fake eyelashes?

American Dance Guild Performance Festival
September 12th, 2009 (Evening Performance)
Manhattan Movement & Arts Center
New York City, New York

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