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 Post subject: Battleworks Dance Company
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2003 4:46 pm 
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Location: Southwick, MA, USA
Battleworks Dance Company performed in the Doris Duke Theatre at Jacob's Pillow from July 10-13, 2003.

As if to celebrate the arrival of his newborn company, artistic director, Robert Battle opened the Battleworks Dance Company concert given in the Doris Duke Theatre at Jacob's Pillow with 'Alleluia.'

Set on three male and four female dancers wearing white, clerical looking costumes, the mood, movement, and choice of Baroque music- J. S. Bach, Handel, and Scarlatti-, of 'Alleluia,' choreographed by Battle in 2002, echoes the mood, movement, and music of Paul Taylor's 'Esplanade.' Respectfully irreverent, the work shapes pedestrian movement, such as running and a host of worshipful gestures ranging from clasped hands to shaking and foot pounding into a jubilant and artful look at spiritual exultation. While the asymmetrical groupings of dancers shun analogy to the symmetries of 18th century harmony, the near limitless articulations of limbs, torso, hands, and groupings of dancers readily equals the contrapuntal facilities and melodic aspects that signature the music of that century. And like Baroque music, one loses oneself in the works of Robert Battle by its welcoming craft rather than by an overwhelming volume of material.

Moreover, it is Battle's gift of musicality, for viewers that spontaneous, revelatory, and compelling moment one feels when the music seems to meet the movement perfectly, rather than the family resemblance his works bear to Paul Taylor or David Parsons that makes his art distinctive. In fact, Battle's avowal that his choreography manifests his affection for the music and that he is often charged with the sin of Mickey Mousing indicates the musical intent and motivation of his works. Other works on the program, for example, 'Takademe,' a male solo set to music by Shelia Chandra, and 'The Hunt,' a dance for four males set to music by Les Tambours du Bronx, illustrate certain obvious aspects of Battle's musicality. Dance phrases, for instance, converged with musical phrases and like lightening; dramatic articulations of the body visualized thunderous rhythms. Yet, there is more. The negative hype that so easily follows upon the label of Mickey Mousing in the works of Battle (and others 'guilty' of this sin) turns instead into a positive value. The convergences described, for example, provide an aesthetic compass that allows viewers to both know then ignore where they are granting them clearance thereby to experience Battle's work in a multitude of directions. Such assuring freedom is necessary for there is little in the music that predicts, for instance, the free-fall conclusion of 'ush Hour' - a work set on five female and two male dancers to music for strings and percussion by John Mackey. Neither does the music predict Battle's use of movement to imitate things or concepts, such as a house in the 'Sour Heart' section of 'Mood Indigo,' music again by Mackey, or a clock in Rush Hour. Nor does the music guarantee Battle's abundant use of familiar gestures such as those of worship in 'Alleluia,' courting and breakup in the 'Bitter Jig' section of 'Mood Indigo' and 'Strange Humors,' music also by Mackey, or his equally abundant quotations of popular and formal dance forms such as the tango in 'Strange Humors', Bharata Natyam in 'Takademe,' and African dance in 'The Hunt.' Nevertheless, the movement meets the music in Battle's works in an intensely satisfying way.

At the tender age of nearly two, the Battleworks Dance Company is precocious in its performance maturity. The dancers wear Battle's choreography as confidently as they wear their tights and that confidence holds the compass of musicality steady. In turn that steadiness highlights the contours of motion that shapes the rhetorical terrain of Battle's works. Fired by their long connection to Robert Battle, many of the dancers helped to found and now administrate their newborn company. Their collective dedication delivers the goods and one hopes to see Kirven J. Boyd, Elisa Clark, Tyler Gilstrap, Clare Holland, Erika Pujic, Samuel L. Roberts, Kanji Segawa, George Smallwood, and Jennifer Warren perform Battle's works again and again.

<font size=1>[Edited title to broaden scope]</font>

<small>[ 18 March 2005, 09:16 PM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Battleworks Dance Company
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 8:25 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: SF Bay Area
Tonight was my first viewing of Robert Battle's own company, Battleworks, which I found talented and strong, in particular Jennifer Mabus and George Smallwood.

The programming chosen for the performances at Zero Arrow Theatre in Cambridge was eclectic, which is rather amazing considering that most of the works were created within a five-year span. There were shades of Mark Morris' wit in the Baroque-based "Alleluia" but "Takedeme," a solo performed by Mabus to Sheila Chandra, and "The Hunt," performed by four men to percussive music by Les Tambours du Bronx (what a name!) and originally commissioned by the Parsons Dance Company, showcased a more urban aspect of Battle's style.

I haven't made up my mind if I liked all the works but two or three that interested me out of the seven performed is certainly a good score when using my standards to judge choreography and it piques my interest to want to see more.

<small>[ 18 March 2005, 09:30 PM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Battleworks Dance Company
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 6:21 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 27, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 1845
Following her review of Boston Ballet's "Falling Angels" program, Marcia Siegel reviews Battleworks: Evolution/devolution - Boston Ballet’s ‘Falling Angels’; Battleworks at Zero Arrow Theatre
Quote:
.... You could almost see a direct line from Robert Battle back to David Parsons, with whom he danced and choreographed for seven years, and back to Paul Taylor, with whom Parsons danced for nine years. Along this trail, modern dance as an expressive medium becomes more formalized, more energized, and more entertaining. And, well, more like modern ballet.
(Links to some preview articles were posted in the "CrashArts" thread.)

<small>[ 24 March 2005, 07:22 AM: Message edited by: BBalletFan ]</small>


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2006 11:09 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 11:01 pm
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
Eloquence and Physicality Share the Joyce Theater Stage
by JENNIFER DUNNING for the New York Times

Mr. Battle's "Promenade," an urgent group work set to urgent, terrifically dancy music by John Mackey, is a high-energy workout. It is also shot through with a wittiness that was not found in Mr. Battle's other two pieces on the program: his signature "Takademe," performed by Kate Skarpetowska, and his anxious new "Primate," which looks like an updating by several generations of the lumbering troglodytes of Paul Taylor's "3 Epitaphs."

published: July 7, 2006
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:53 am 
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From Karen Campbell in the Boston Globe:
Quote:
With provocative moves, Battle engages
Robert Battle’s dances are as confounding as they are riveting. The choreographer seems to delight in defying expectations. A woman in a red ball gown sucks her thumb. Dancers in genteel garb devolve into scrabbling animals. Contextually, his works are not just puzzling, but provocative, using gesture to agitate and shock - hands claw at the face, mouths gape in mimed screams.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 8:47 am 
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From Debra Cash in the Boston Phoenix:
Quote:
Finding a voice - Battleworks at the ICA
.... Battle’s choreography for his own company embraces a wide range of musical genres — everything from Bach to the contemporary drumming of Les Tambours du Bronx. Closer inspection, however, shows a choreographer making a series of perplexing musical choices that don’t always serve him well.

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