The audience looks on as dancers perform on the green in The Set Up.

They move in such a way that they no longer seem of this world. As part of 2013’s River to River Festival, the third installment of an eight-part series, The Set Up: Jean-Christophe Pare, choreographed by Wally Cardona and Jennifer Lacey, takes the public viewers on an artistic journey of a lifetime. Its’ unique aesthetic and presentation leaves people suspended in both bewilderment and captivity. 

With the casual setting of Pier 15 down at the South Street Seaport, one can feel the naturalistic vibe of the newly installed grove and the constant rhythm of the city. The blending sounds of boat horns, helicopters hovering, children screaming, and most importantly, the unusual musical accompaniment of four trombones both served as a distraction and a new coloring to the dance piece. The city’s noises are inevitable and the space certainly did not have the acoustics of a music hall; yet the staggering of the trombones in different parts of the piece to signify different dynamic levels was truly clever. As for the dancing itself, it was difficult to interpret what the storyline was, especially if one is not a dancer his or herself. Nonetheless, the fluidity of the dancers’ movements, with the help of the grove setting, clearly displayed animalistic qualities throughout the piece. 

The Set Up was a great breath of fresh air for art lovers such as myself and drew a variety of interpretations from the audience. The best kind of work out there is the work that encourages thinking. This is definitely a piece that one must really try to think about in order to understand and have great physical capability to perform. Any person that enjoys a unique aesthetic and interpretation of modern dance should attend this performance.