DanceView Times, New York edition
Volume 1, Number 8 November 17, 2003 An online supplement to DanceView magazine
Dancing in Puddles
Like all good storms, Rain began in stillness and calm. Sturdy ropes hung from the ceiling in a crescent shape that spanned the circumference of the stage, but remained open along the front, stopping short of closing in a full circle. Careful not to disturb the ropes, which swung impressively when provoked, Rosas, the Brussels-based ten-member troupe consisting of three men and seven women, quietly entered and engulfed the space.
first moments, Keersmaeker planted the seeds for the seventy-minute piece.
I think in this one evening we may have witnessed every combination of
ten dancers imaginable. But watching Rain unfold was more than a thirst-quenching
those who might squirm a bit when a choreographic moment puts a dancer's
crotch more or less in our face (and perhaps wonder whether the dancer
feels awkward in that position), Roseann Spradlin's Under/world tells
us to get over it, quickly. Just about every inch of her three dancers'
anatomy is in our face.
A Tasteless Beauty
are all these children making of all this? I found myself wondering as
this stupefyingly tasteless and amateurish vanity project unfolded in
front of what was largely a family audience. The Alliance Francaise's
dance offerings are sporadic, and in the past have featured some respected
and adventurous contemporary French troupes. What led them to present
the Saba Dance Theatre—named for its artistic director/choreographer/costume
designer, the single-named (like Cher, with whom he shares a penchant
for extravagant, tasteless get-ups) Saba, is a mystery.
Letter from New York
Mindy Aloff's Letter from New York will return in two weeks. If you've missed an earlier Letter, you can catch up:
[republished from last week's Midweek Update]
Staging Martha Graham's Celebration
An Interview with Yuriko
By Mindy Aloff
Among Barbara Morgan’s very greatest images of the Martha Graham Dance Company are the handful of her ensemble, rocketing in synch, from Celebration (given its première in 1934, photographed sometime between 1936 and 1941). Graham, herself, is nowhere to be seen; she never performed in the dance. Some of those who did, though, have recorded their experiences, which might lead one to think that the dance consisted of jumping from beginning to end. (Various estimates put the number of jumps in it at around 150.) “It was sensational because we jumped the whole time,” May O’Donnell told critic Tobi Tobias in 1981. In Robert Tracy’s Goddess: Martha Graham’s Dancers Remember, Pearl Lang recalls that “the technique is very difficult. They used to teach the difficult jumps from Celebration in class.” Jane Dudley, also interviewed by Tracy, remembered: “When I was asked to join Martha’s company, I had to learn Martha’s dance Celebration, which nearly killed me. The fact is, enthusiastic as I was, and with as well-endowed a body [as] I had, I wasn’t prepared for the stamina a dancer needed for Celebration.” An especially vivid account is Bonnie Bird’s, in her memoir Bird’s Eye View: Dancing with Martha Graham and on Broadway:
1933 Martha choreographed Celebration, a marvelously energetic
dance suggestive of atoms and molecules rebounding to and fro, being propelled
in space. We ran backward with tiny steps on half-toe, knees straight,
similar to bourrées, which created a feeling of vibratory momentum.
I jumped in the center of the group until my legs ached. Others split
off like frecrackers spewing out in different directions. The dance was
impersonal, yet exciting, and we all loved it. The fact that we danced
Celebration with impassive faces was puzzling to people in the audience.
Martha had expunged smiling long before this.”
What's On This Week
17 and 24
17-November 30 (opened October 30)
18-23 (opened November 11)
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