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 Post subject: New Reviewers' Competition 2
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2001 1:40 am 
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Here are the entries for the competition. I'm delighted that there are 18 reviews from 9 competitors. <P>I've checked all the threads twice, but I recommend that all the competitors check that their entries has been included:<P><BR><B>jwcw2</B>:<BR>Mark Morris<BR>Michael Clark<BR>Ballett Frankfurt - Artifact<BR>Ballett Frankfurt - Eidos: Telos<P><B>Emma Pegler</B><BR>Renee Harris<BR>Martha@The Criterion<P><BR><B>Luciana Brett</B><BR>Mark Morris<BR>Michael Clark<BR>Ballett Frankfurt - Artifact<BR>Ballett Frankfurt - Eidos: Telos<P><B>Christine/ChrisUK</B><BR>Richard Alston<BR>Batsheva<P><BR><B>OdileGB</B><BR>Mark Morris<P><BR><B>Shawn Renee Lent</B><BR>Déjà Donné <P><B>Lyndsey Winship</B><BR>Mark Morris<BR>Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe<P><B>Wendy Steatham</B><BR>Ricochet Dance Company<P><B>Joanne</B><BR>O Vertigo<P>In the following posts I have copied all the eligable reviews. <P><BR><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited November 13, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: New Reviewers' Competition 2
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2001 5:27 am 
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<B>Ballett Frankfurt reviews</B><P><B>jwcw2</B> on 'Artifact'<P>THE INS & OUTS OF 1984 IN ENGLAND, 2001 Ballett Frankfurt: Artifact (Sadler’s Wells 3 – 7 November 2001)<P>'Artifact' was the first full-length piece that William Forsythe choreographed for Ballett Frankfurt in 1984. When shown in England today, it still manages to shock thousands of British audience, who are often so-called, ‘in’, i.e. into trendy shows and cultures. Why?<P>000. Let us begin by looking at the curtain calls of this typical 19th century four-Act performance. They rebel against the norm by starting with the non-dancers’ révérence.<P>001. Rewinding the performance a step backward: Act IV is danced with some dancers facing upstage, which reverses the traditional performer-audience relationship. <P>0011. Conventions are further broken down by a non-dancer elderly knocking against the floor while traditional balletic steps are executed. <P>0012. Two powerful straight lines are formed by dancers facing one another. Yet only the stage-right line manages to dominate by discriminating against dancers of certain body height. <P>0013. Dancers on stage left simply ignore such rule. Men partner each other during this Act, dismantling the deeply-rooted balletic sexist order.<P>002. Continue to reverse the order of the performance: The logical disorder in Act IV contrasts the chaotic setting in Act III, an Act which begins with the curtain lifted during the conventional twenty-minute interval. Audiences return to their seats while the theatre lights are still on. Some worry that they have missed the 'formal' beginning of Act III, while others try hard to figure out the 'official' ending of the interval. This sense of chaos is intensified by an old man in his shirt and jeans shouting through the megaphone, mixing the order of 'inside', 'outside', 'dark', 'bright', 'always', 'never', 'far' and 'near'. Using grammatically correct sentences, he argues senselessly with a non-dancer woman dressed in historical costume. Interestingly, the hidden rule within chaos is further reinforced by individuals 'stepping in' and 'out' of several paper screens, creating a pattern that whenever a screen falls, a woman will be dancing in front of the screen immediately behind. The existence of law and order is further evidenced by the 'delayed' curtain drop after the 'end' of the Act, which echoes its 'early' uplift at the Act’s beginning.<P>003. Take one more step behind the performance’s sequence: The chaotic establishment in the third Act reverses the artificial harmony in Act II, which is performed with the structured Bach’s Chaconne in d-Moll. <P>0031. Within this neat setting, two pairs of men and women partner with the women skillfully tilt off the balletic vertical line, sharing gravity with the men. <P>0032. Behind the couples are lines of background dancers who uniformly follow the authority of a leader downstage. This system is, however, shattered by the curtain going down. Within seconds, it is lifted again, with background dancers forming entirely different lines, altering the stage pattern completely. <P>0033. This formula of changing scenes is repeated over and over again within the Act. Yet it is not without exception. Before Act II ends, the background dancers no longer follow the leader; the couples merge with the two lines of dancers and exit the stage.<P>Confusing, isn't it? You are not alone. In fact, 'Artifact', on one hand, 'steps out': it tries to create chaos OUT of structures. On the other hand, it does not completely deviate from rules; it still observes certain essential structures WITHIN the disorder. In other words, it 'steps in'. This way of deconstructing dance was devised more than fifteen years ago. Yet, when demonstrated in England today, it still manages to shock the British audience. Thanks to the stagnant (or outstandingly ‘in’) British (dance) culture.<P>*********************************<P><B>Luciana Brett on 'Artifact'</B><P>BALLETT FRANKFURT<BR>Sadler’s Wells, 3 – 5 November 2001<P><BR>LUCIANA BRETT:<P>In semi-darkness they appear, some briefly highlighted by isolated beams across the stage. One is seized by their beauty. The dancers’ movements are simple but their intensity is enthralling. <P>William Forsythe’s corps de ballet will leave you breathless. All thirty-two dancers dominate the stage with a bewildering dynamism. Pushing their technical ability to the extreme they execute the classical ballet vocabulary without apology. A traditional tondu exercise becomes a vision of power and gusto as men and women dancers, lined up down the sides of the stage, brush their lean-muscled legs back and forth; their arms slice through a port de bras, not with delicacy or lightness but fierce rapidity, punctuating the air in mid-circle.<P>Artifact, Forsythe’s four-act ballet of 1984, performed for the first time in Britain, is a work charged with magnificent images. Forsythe is responsible for almost everything; choreography, lighting, costume, design and much of the music. But it’s the sheer brilliance of his dancers which knocks you sideways. There seems to be nothing these bodies can’t do. At times they look almost unreal. In the third section a group of dancers take on Forsythe’s familiar, disconnected movement style. Joints look detached from their sockets. Bones appear loose; the mechanics of the entire skeleton display every move.<P>What makes Artifact such an original and inventive piece of theatre is the simple yet complex way in which Forsythe plays with the elements. Even the title suggests something carefully put together, hand-made, and this thinking extends beyond the stage into the auditorium. As the audience fill their seats and with the house lights still up, a dancer, painted a pale white from head to toe, has already started the performance. In part two, the curtain falls suddenly in the middle of a quartet with the music in mid flow. When it rises again the quartet has become a duet and the corps have lined themselves along the back wall. The process is repeated, each time revealing a new configuration.<P>Another aspect of the complexity of the work is the presence of two speaking narrators. A woman dressed in a corset and wig and an older man in glasses holding a loud speaker, wander between the unaffected dancers. Although conjuring up extra moments of drama, either muttering or baffling us with their tongue-twisting monologues, the meaning of their roles remains hard to fathom .<P>The enigmatic woman, however, has the last word. " Step outside!" she shouts, one clap of her hands and the lights go out.<P>**********************************<P><B>Luciana Brett</B> on 'Eidos: Telos'<P><BR>BALLETT FRANKFURT SADLERS WELLS, 8 – 10 NOVEMBER<P>William Forsythe’s Eidos:Telos leaves audiences overwhelmed with its extraordinary sense of mystery, madness and chilling beauty. This work literally stirs your whole physical being.<P>Above all, it is the middle section which casts such a spell. Here, any detached way of viewing theatre is demolished and instead our engagement is dramatic, the tension unforgiving.<P>Part two begins with an emotional and desperate monologue by the exceptional performer, Dana Caspersen. She is topless, a long, layered skirt covering her lower half. The set around her is complex: a suspended television, an enormous stage light hanging just off the ground, taunt slanting strings running from one end to the other, and a lighting design which changes your whole perspective of the stage space. <P>Forsythe’s combination of text, design and performance conjures up a frighteningly eerie atmosphere. Caspersen’s solo at times becomes quite horrific to watch. She looks inhuman as she screams, convolutes, undulates on the floor like a possessed animal. Utterly spellbinding, she’ll seize even the coldest heart.<P>Later, the rest of the company enter, waltzing through her space with grace and fluidity. But with Forsythe’s ability to take us places we’ve never been before, this light, breezy dance turns dark as the dancers rant about their violent and psychotic fantasies.<P>The first and third parts are more like Forsythe as we know him. The stage is stark. The dancers, in their usual manner move through the space as if on their own journey, keeping us at an emotional distance. We watch their bodies fall, twist and distort themselves like puppets with strings on every joint. But, then, just when you think that nothing will equal the power of the middle section, those feelings in the pit of your stomach begin to creep back. As the company swarm the stage and a trio of trumpeters ignite the auditorium with bursts of wild, incoherent sounds, the piece erupts in a final turmoil that allows no room for relief. <P>*********************************<P><B>jcwc2</B> on 'Eidos: Telos':<P><BR>“I’d Love to See a Dance”<P>Ballett Frankfurt: Eidos: Telos (Sadler’s Wells, 8-10 November 2001)<P>What is a dance without music? Why see a dance but not a play? What don’t you go to a concert instead? In Edios (Gr. plan): Telos (Gr. purpose), William Forysthe considers “dance” as an Aristotelian “productive” discipline and explores with us its inception and its boundaries, when actualized. <P>No music; only sounds created by trombones. How can movement be initiated? <P>By a dancer touching a thigh, clapping his hands, tapping his foot. <P>By a dancer breathing, coughing or sighing.<P>By a dancer dragging her neighbor across the floor.<P>By a dancer hitting a musical string. <P>By dancers counting or making a sound together, or by them plucking the two strings on stage. <P>No matter how movements are initiated, despite the fact that there are no clocks, timer, metronome, violins or text, in Part III, the dancers move rhythmically, with absolute accuracy. The concept of time exists among the dancers and is not imposed by any external forces. The dancers are their own choreographers: they decide on how they share their time onstage and with the audience.<P>Even when songs are sung, the trombones are blown off-stage, and the pulsation within the group has been slightly disrupted in Part II, the dancers soon try to listen to each other to resist the external domination. Together they attempt to pluck the two strings to create music out of their own movement. And they succeed. Look, they have re-captured their rhythm; their energy even changes the lighting. <P>In fact, human movement can be so powerful that it reverses the order of time. In Part I, A dancer inserts his body to fill the broken line of the stave.<P>He catches the violinist’s bow while it plays.<P>He fiddles the metronome with his fingers to alter its sways. <P>A crewmember plucks the string on stage. <P>These moves force the timer to count backwards, and even the violinist who has been playing on stage dances.<P>If human movement is so powerful, surely there will be no problems adding extra elements, such as text and music, to it, you may think. But what will dance be like if external forces try to dominate it? <P>Audience see dancers dance in costumes created by Issey Miyake-affiliated designers and they hear melodious music plays. What is experienced is gracefulness and harmony. Yet, it can be destroyed by just a drop of saliva. In Part II, the audience giggle and scratch their heads when they hear dancers swear, negotiate business and order the others to dance in a foreign language. <P>As the trombones louden and their players appear in Part III, dancers push each other, some want to pluck the strings but fail. Finally, they lose their rhythm and scatter apart. Dana Caspersen who delivers monologues in Part II in partial dance costume now throws away its remains. The trombones continue to make noises, and the curtain goes down. <P>“I love the dance because I love the music,” “the dance is great because I like the actress’s speech.” Besides stimulating our senses during the performance, Forsythe leaves us with some thoughts that we can next bring to a “dance”. <P>


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 Post subject: Re: New Reviewers' Competition 2
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2001 5:29 am 
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<B>Emma Pegler on Martha@The Criterion</B> <P>Richard Move’s parody of Martha Graham is quite brilliant. For one thing, I learned a great about the life and work of Ms Graham. Although a cabaret act in terms of one-liners and jokes, Move’s lyrical dancing of Graham’s works clearly demonstrates his admiration for both the dancer and the woman. Move is in drag, essentially, but as you are drawn into Ms Graham’s world, mesmerised and hypnotised by the soft American purr with which she delivers her story, you forget that Graham is not Graham and is, in fact, a man. Even Move’s body takes on a soft feminine line – creation by suggestion. For me, the reminder that Graham is in fact Move, came from watching the feet in repose, just visible under the swathes of bias-cut chiffon. Since I was in the front row and looking up slightly, I was probably one of the few to notice.<BR>Ms Graham delivers her story, professional and personal, occasionally reading from a large notebook containing details of her technique, demonstrated by Katherine Crockett, who, having studied at the Martha Graham School and danced as principal in the Martha Graham Dance Company, is perfectly expert at satirising the technique: to be able to parody Ms Graham in a way that is amusing and digestible for the audience, we have to be confident that the dancer has the credentials to do. <P>The intimacy and cosiness of the small Criterion Theatre is perfect for work of this nature. You have to feel part of the action. Graham tells us that a woman was able to finally cry and lament the death of her child (which she had witnessed), after seeing Graham dance which prompts the dancer to remember that performers are dancing, or speaking, in the broad sense of that word, to one person in the audience – at least one person, and every individual person receives their own personal interpretation of the work. I certainly felt that way – I was quite unaware of the audience around me because I was caught on every word of the near Eartha Kitt purr. I suppose I will never know for sure if Ingrid Bergman really took private lessons from Ms Kitt or whether Liza Minelli really told autograph hunters at the Royal Opera House Stage Door to ask for Ms Graham’s autograph. But that doesn’t matter.<P>Sheron Wray was introduced as a special guest, dancing “Harmonica Breakdown” choreographed by one of Graham’s pupils, Jane Dudley. This is always an emotional experience for Sheron Wray as Ms Dudley was official patron to her company, JazzXchange, and private inspiration to her for many years. It was all the more so on this occasion as Ms Dudley died earlier this year. Sheron’s performance of this work was, as usual, sublimely musical and well-received by the audience.<P>Matthew Bourne was interviewed on stage. Actually he was interrogated in a way that made us chuckle heartily. Ms Graham craves recognition and attention, constantly bringing the conversation back to herself. (I learned a great deal about Bourne too.) It is a friendly poke at the inevitable ego produced by acquiring demigod status. <P>The final special guest was Mark Morris, performing “From Old Seville” with two of his regular dancers, Lauren Grant and John Heginbotham. Heginbotham drags on a large cigar and devours a bottle of red wine but never dances. Morris, who drinks with him, feels obliged to tear himself away from the red wine and dance a strenuous flamenco with Grant, which he does expertly (he learned flamenco as a young man and spent a year in Spain), before returning repeatedly to down the rest of the glass. It is a highly entertaining cameo sketch of a man torn away from what he really wants to do – drink- and completely in tune with the cabaret-style evening.<P>I was lucky enough to join Sheron Wray at dinner after the performance where I saw Move without his make up. I couldn’t take my eyes off him, trying to detect signs of him growing to look like Graham. None apparent as yet. <P>


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 Post subject: Re: New Reviewers' Competition 2
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2001 5:32 am 
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<B>Emma Pegler</B> on Rennie Harris’ Puremovement, “Rome and Jewels”<P>Queen Elizabeth Hall, London<BR>Saturday 20 October, 2001<P>The parts of the English language normally employed in the critique of dance are barely adequate for the purpose of describing Rennie Harris’ take on “Romeo and Juliet” - “Rome and Jewels.” Shakespeare is credited for supplying part of the ‘text’ and Harris tells the audience that the idea for the piece came from “West Side Story.” After that, customary dance vocabulary runs out - Harris, aged 14, had thought: “West Side Story would be better with hip hop dancers.” DJs scratch records in rhythm (this for the uninitiated is turntablism), handsome black ‘guys’ balance in handstands on muscular arms, circling their legs above their heads as if dancing ballet upside down, and Rome (Romeo), former US Marine, Rodney Mason, interlaces Shakespearian sonnets with graphic, and occasionally pornographic, rap. <P>Rome and the “Monster Q’s” (the “Montagues” in normal Romeo and Juliet parlance) are dressed in baggy black street clothes and dance what I would guess is pure hip-hop. Tybalt and the “Caps” (the “Capulets”) are dressed in more clean-cut red tracksuits, dancing what I would have called break dancing, but is, in fact, “B-boy.” The two gangs clash because Rome has been up to no good with Tybalt’s girl, Jewels (Juliet). Rome speaks to Jewels - “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? - but she is never seen. He simulates a kiss and even full sex with the spectral heroine. But Jewels isn’t the point. We are, rather, witnessing Rome’s rite of passage on the streets – North Philadelphia, where Harris was raised and became skilled in the art of street dance. Body parts are isolated to perform slowed down, segregated hip-hop movements and then dancing degenerates into being given a good kicking, true gang style. <P>Rome’s principal monologue takes us through the range of characters he could be on a rough Philly street; the Romeo and Juliet text and Shakespeare’s sonnets delivered straight, with chilling drama, and mixed with what I would call hard-core rap. He mimics a gun with his hand pointed at the audience, he becomes a cop shouting at him (self) “to put the gun down,” then he’s an evangelising priest. Mason, a Gulf War veteran who started life dancing on the streets of South Philly, excels as both actor and dancer. When he balances on his arms and then slides onto his chest, his movements are so graceful that he appears to perform an inverted arabesque, his arms like thighs. <P>Screen and video are topical in dance and Harris uses projected images of the dancers to good effect, demonstrating the complexity of hip-hop. The bodies roaming the streets appear like the disjointed images produced by heat-seeking equipment used to locate the enemy in the jungle – the body mass appears a deeper concentration of colour.<P>The final clash between the gangs is a “full-on” scene from West Side Story; the gangs dance against each other and then each dancer demonstrates his or her (there are two “B-girls”) individual prowess. Mercutio dies in Rome’s arms; Rome wants Tybalt’s blood - “Break him off,” he instructs the boys. The red tracksuits “get it.” “O, I am fortune’s fool” declares Rome, faithful to the original text, as he, too, falls to the ground. No one is a winner, except, maybe, Harris, the rapping narrator, who relieves the dying Rome of his watch, believing it to have once been his “**** ”.<P>Harris has integrated all aspects of hip-hop and rap culture into a piece that works as both drama and dance. It is hard to estimate how much of this genre the market can support and how far you can stretch these street dances artistically before a standard, hackneyed set show is produced (like the ubiquitous tango show that takes you through the development of tango). I can guess, however, that Harris won’t churn out Swan Lake hip-hop style. This production, at least, is brilliant. Or should I say wicked?<P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited November 13, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: New Reviewers' Competition 2
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2001 5:33 am 
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<B>Shawn Renee Lent on DÉJÀ DONNÉ - ARIAL SPINTA</B><P>The Place, Robin Howard Dance Theatre 10 November, 2001 - 8pm<P><BR>With their evening-length production Aria Spinta, the multinational Déjà Donné company provides a unique dance farce with a wide appeal. Founders/Choreographers Lenka Flory (Czech Republic) and Simone Sandroni (Italy) have created a piece that, at times, is uneasily sensual and merely on the verge of making a point; yet at most other times, is brilliantly intricate and representative of how completely exhilarating dance theatre can be.<P>Aria Spinta contributes to both Dance Umbrella’s 2001 international festival and the Funny Bone at The Place series, “a rolling programme of danceworks (at The Place’s Robin Howard Theatre) which inject comedy into choreography and put a smile on your face.” This Déjà Donné’s production, which premiered in Belgium in 1999, successfully weaves slapstick with contemporary dance. Sandroni’s movement in itself contains little humour other than well timed groping and animated facial expression. The comedic brilliance, you see, lies in the unexpected situations and hilarious multilingual text.<P>Déjà Donné has been performing internationally since 1997. Aria Spinta, one of only two pieces in the company’s current repertoire, is centered on a generic show within a show storyline that lends itself to hilarious tangents. Three self-centered, domineering women and two pitiful, immature men attempt to salvage the world of their deteriorating show. After numerous tantrums and antics, their stable world surrenders to chaos. Discreetly, our five mates panic, yet--after more than 100 performances—possess a peculiar precision. <P>The energy of Aria Spinta, although not completely infectious, is astounding. With a bizarrely appropriate soundtrack, it enwraps you in a vivacious night of theatre. Flory is a master of manic pace and spatial design with her ‘interprets’ tinkering with and within the audience. Largely due to Vincent Longuemare’s active lighting design, Aria Spinta (loosely translated from Italian as pushed air) seamlessly swaps between participatory and spectator sport. <P>Technically, the five performers are as adept at involving the audience and holding attention as they are leaping and shifting weight. Each of them has at least one moment of absolute abandonment; the conviction with which they carryout these wild moments is to be more than commended.<P>Unfortunately, substantial subject matter fails to be genuinely explored or incorporated. An ingenious idea of ‘the false enjoyment of a entertainer being a form of prostitution’ is aroused but not awoken. With her shirt acting as a low-budget peep show, Sofia provides an exceptionally intriguing performance. Nevertheless, the characters are generally two-dimensional and sustain very little development. We leave the characters just as we found them. But, I do say, we are thrilled by their quirkiness all the same.<P>The whimpering final moment of the production is followed by thunderous appreciation. The young audience, who just 70 minutes earlier push their way inconspicuously through the entrance in order to claim a good seat, leave with a pleasant smile in their eyes and a sense of community. <P>Definitely look for Déjà Donné when they tour the UK in April/May 2002 with their latest production, Bella Copia.<P><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: New Reviewers' Competition 2
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2001 5:40 am 
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<B>Mark Morris Dance Group</B> <P><B>Lyndsey Winship</B><P><BR>What is the simple joy in watching figures move in unison? How can you explain the sheer pleasure in the perfect alignment of arms, legs and heads? Perhaps because it foils the disarray of real life; its unpredictability, its dislocation, the patchwork of ideas, paces and possibilities. There is something defiantly affirmative about 14 bodies leaping in sync, and a sense of resolution that is inherently satisfying.<P>For all the canon and counterpoint in Mark Morris’ choreography, the real high point of his programme at Sadlers Wells is during the magnificent Grand Duo when his dancers function as a kind of neo-chorus line, their bodies making large statements and perfect tableaux. Grand Duo is Morris at his best, and feels like everything dance should be. There is a connection and immediacy which underlines the power of live dance, and a balance - between steps, between dancers and between the choreography and the music - which seals the work complete. <P>There is no battle for attention. When two tribes of dancers are set in dialogue they only serve to compliment each other, just as Lou Harrison’s rolling, melodic, mournful music is the perfect partner for Morris’ driving dance. <P>The other works of the evening might not have quite the same sense of completeness that pervades Grand Duo, but they still reveal a masterful and instinctively musical choreographer. Only in ‘I Don’t Want to Love’, a lyrical sweep through seven Monteverdi madrigals, do the bittersweet suspensions of the music threaten to steal from the movement on stage, which doesn’t quite step into such sublime cadences.<P>A new work, V, finds easy affinity with Schumann’s Quintet in E flat. Its Romanticism lets the company indulge in more balletic moments whilst remaining true to their resolutely ‘turned-in’ contemporary roots. The charm of Morris is that he can meld styles and shift structures without any step seeming out of place, and his company - tight, precise and perfectly poised - can fall from a rose adagio to crawling on all fours with effortless grace.<P>When Morris takes the stage himself, for the solo ‘Peccadillos’ set to Satie’s mesmerising (if slightly Toytown) piano pieces, the door into his dreamlike danceworld swings open. In the way that the sleeping brain connects disparate thoughts, occurences, memories and rolls them into a narrative that seems perfectly natural, Morris subtly skips his way through highland flings, cossack kicks, vaudeville tap and the prim pout of the pantomime dame. And it all makes perfect sense. With weightless steps and utter strength he holds the audience rapt with his imagination, and his undoubtable command of the stage.<P>******************************<P><B>jwcw2</B><P>EXPERIENCE BEYOND TEXT <P>Review of Mark Morris Dance Group’s Performance at Sadler’s Wells, London, 17 October 2001<P><BR>Harmonious, diverse, stimulating to all senses. Perhaps this holistic theatrical experience cannot be sufficiently contained in words, but let me try to guide you through this experience.<P>Part of this experience is brought by Mark Morris dancing his own work, Peccadillos. Black and white is he dressed in, and so is the pianist. “The pianist normally accompanies off-stage. How do you notice what he dressed like?” You may ask. Morris surprises us by bringing the pianist, Ethan Iverson on stage. Yet instead of playing a grand piano upstage, Iverson sits downstage on the floor in front of a miniature piano. With his speedy yet coherent movements, Morris works with the music, attacks it and makes jokes about it. <P>As soon as you begin to enjoy the purity and innocence in Peccadillos, Morris tries to share with his audience an entirely different set of time and space by bringing us to a tribal gathering. Grand Duo is performed by fourteen men and women, all in different body types, color and hairstyles. The typical dancer’s body is not typical on stage. Despite all dressed in bright, tribal clothing, every dancer is dressed differently, symbolizing the importance of individuality within the group. With the playful use of lighting by Michael Chybowski, the color on stage harmonizes with the dancers’ pulses. <P>With their expressive emotions and movements, each individual performer interacts with one another. Some duets float while others break. This raw exposition of human nature draws the audience's energy into the tribal group, breaking the barriers between the audience and the performers. As an audience, I gather the energy from the theater as the performance goes. This amazing yet powerful energy gradually transcends into a movement of power. Not only can one hear the audience’s applause, my funky teenager neighbors stand up, and applaud speechlessly with awe. <P>Morris’s witty use of harmony and balances then brings us into another kind of experience in V. Contrasts with the rhythmic music in Grand Duo, V is danced with four movements in Robert Schumann’s Quintet in E flat for piano and strings. Collaborating with the music, men and women form the number(s) “V”. Each dancer’s musicality is so precise, and his/her control of energy is so effective, that no one dominates the performance. Nor does the dance dominate the music. The relationships between the dancers, the dance and the music, and the performers and the audience are complementary, rather than competitive. Each unique element contributes to promote the sense of harmony and diversity in the theater. <P>Morris’s idea of harmony and balances can further be seen in his choreography. Despite the tensions created by the gestures towards the end of the performance, the dancers’ quick yet light turns and jumps generate moments of ease, which again balances the entire dance, and hence, the audience’s emotions. Also, the steps in Morris’s choreography are not standard ballet movements; rather, they are basic steps taken or originated from our daily lives, such as crawling. This freshness is particularly revealing, given the fact that several movements in the dance are deliberately repeated.<P>Perhaps to end a review of a holistic experience as Morris’s, is to invite you to go beyond what is contained in this text, but to experience what Morris has to say in the theater.<P>***************************<P><B>Luciana Brett</B> <BR>Mark Morris Dance Group<BR>SADLER’S WELLS, 16 - 20 OCTOBER 2001<P>The pure joy of moving leaps from the dancers’ bodies. They consume the space with outstretched, open arms; quick, dynamic runs and sprightly jumps.<P>What strikes you about the Mark Morris Dance Group, formed in 1980 when the choreographer was just 24, is the intimate unity between the dancers and, more surprisingly, between the dancers and musicians. In fact, watching Morris’s work, the reviewer feels the music should be described as much as the dance.<P>In the opening piece, ’I don’t want to love’, a small choir of two tenors and a soprano sing seven Montiverdi songs. The rich voices of the singers are intricately interwoven with the movements of the ensemble, so that no dancer goes solo. This is one of the most refreshing aspects of Morris’s work. As he puts it, "what we call a giant solo in my company is about four bars long."<P>The second piece is in complete contrast and an absolute joy. We see a musician sitting at a tiny piano on stage. His toy-like rendering of Erik Satie’s music launches ‘Peccadilloes’, a solo by Mark Morris himself. Although no longer a young, svelte figure, he surprised us all with this light-footed, playful dance, sparked with little flourishes of joie de vivre.<P>‘Grand Duo’ opens the second act with a striking image of all fourteen dancers on stage; legs grounded, feet apart, their arms and upper bodies slice through the air with sharp, punctured dynamism. It’s in this piece that the dancers really show off their mesmerising unity. Moving swiftly across the stage with accuracy and coordination the group display spectacular group formations and floor patterns.<P>Much was expected of Morris’s new work, ‘V’, receiving its world premiere at Sadlers Wells. Performed to Schumann’s dramatic Quintet in E flat, the dancers are light and fluid in their movements. But amidst their enjoyment lies a rigorous structure of unison and cannon. However this formula becomes relentless, with the dancers often repeating exactly the same movement phrase only in a different direction or with a different partner. Cannon sequences, where, for example, each dancer down the line jumps and turns in the air, only adds to this predictability.<P>By any standards, though, the power of ‘Grand Duo’ is a hard act to follow.<P>*********************************<P><B>OdileGB</B><P>Mark Morris Dance Group<BR>Mixed Programme<BR>Sadler's Wells<BR>Wednesday 17/10/2001<BR>The Mark Morris Dance Group has returned to London for a weeklong season at the Sadler's Well's Theater, showing a programme of works that had not been shown in London before. <P>The evening started with "I don't want to love" a piece that was premiered 5 years ago at the Edinburgh Festival. To songs by Claudio Monteverdi, that were performed by Mark Morris's own group of musicians including 2 tenors and a soprano, the dancers seemingly drifted through time finding partners and parting from them, coming together in various groupings just to slip away again. The absolut harmony of movement and music was astonishing to watch. Nothing in Morris's choreography is in any way extreme or forced which enables the dancers to just "be". The piece has got a feeling of soothing tranquility about it that lead to my not wanting it to end. Only <BR>the white, 70s disco style inspired costumes took slightly away from the impression of perfect harmony in my opinion.<P>Next we were treated to "Peccadillos" a solo<BR>danced by Mark Morris himself. Accompanied by Ethan Iverson playing music by Erik Satie on a tiny toy piano, that had been placed on stage, the choreographer, now in his forties, seemingly turned into an animated toy. His lively and playful movements were remarkably fluid although his figure was clearly not as trim as it once had been.<BR>Not that anybody watching cared. The audience was taken by Morris's performance.<P>The evening continued with "Grand Duo", a creation choreographed to a composition by Lou Harrison. This powerful work for the entire company in a way manages to capture the essence of human life itself. The dancers reminded me of an ancient tribe moving through live, evoking a whole caleidoscope of human emotions and experiences. Morris created lots of interesing floor patterns that can probably only be fully appreciated watched from above. All of the dancer, refreshingly of various shapes and sizes, proved to be exceptionally expressive and musical.<P>"V", Mark Morris's latest work, that had received its world premiere only the night before, closed the programme. Set to Robert Schumann's Quintet in E flat for Piano and Strings, it is another wonderful ensemble piece. Devided equally into 2 groups, one in blue the other in a soft greenish white, the dancers interact, mirror and repeat each others movements, creating beatiful patterns in the process. Morris has mixed the more traditional ballet vocabulary with unusual movements, like crawling on all fours, but at no point anyone could possibly doubt the harmony of it all. Mark Morris has a special gift to make music 'visible'that leaves you hungry for more.<P><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: New Reviewers' Competition 2
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2001 5:46 am 
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<B>Michael Clark Dance Company reviews</B><P><B>jwcw2</B><P>RISES<P>Michael Clark Company (Sadler’s Wells October 24-28)<P>“You’ve got a typo in your review’s title. The programme is called ‘Before and After: The Fall.’” You begin to frown.<P>The first act of Michael Clark’s new show is called ‘Fall’. Recorded music plays before the curtain is lifted. Classical ballet steps are performed with either the front or the back of the leotards cut off. The sound systems produce screaming noises which hurt your ears. You cannot wait for the interval.<P>The second-act curtain rises as the stage is stripped bare, the ladders laid at its behind, the lights at its bottom. You shake your head furiously.<P>Finally, female dancers rise from flat to stand on their tip-toes between the two rows of lights on the floor. Their skin-coloured underwear unmasks their ballerinas’ physique and their Royal ballet training.<P>A sudden blackout and the music dies. <P>Smiles return when the lights at the bottom and the volume of the music begin to rise. A grand plié a là seconde, four female dancers, each with a lit fluorescent tube chassé across the stage. “Isn’t it beautiful?” You eventually sit back and enjoy the precise lines and angles crafted by Clark. You may even drip when you see the myriad ways in which the music and the tubes penetrate through all female bodies.<P>Oh, no, the third tube is not working. And the first, and the second, and the fourth. <P>But, you see, the media technology works well in the dance. A video with a timecode shows a man in underwear facing the wall. Yes, he is trying to get a rise. Simultaneously, the female dancers chaîné and pirouette, each holding a plastic fist shaped for gripping. Three minutes, the man gets his rise; he begins to relax and breathe, and you do, too. Right, it is time to concentrate on the dance now. One by one, the women start with a grand jeté; they leap and turn, all along the perimeters of an invisible number “7”. How many fouetté en tournant can she do? How can her jumps be so light and quick? Look, the man is trying to get another rise. And he gets it in the 7th minute. You can hear liquid flowing into the music.<P>Stand back, crew members, the audience can see you in your sweaty T-shirts! <P>In fact, the male crew members are struggling to push out a giant arm of at least ten-feet high from backstage towards the centre. This arm has also got a fist shaped to grip. The female dancers who are dressed in pink tops and oversized shorts développé and promenade around the arm. Some with faked hairy legs even relevé in parallel inside the fist. They push against the floor as hard as they can, rising as high as they can go. Then they bend forward and contract.<P>Before you can catch your breath, the performance ends. Rise, rise, rise…Is there anything out there that is beyond an obsession with mechanical, timely rises? Clark provokes us to ask ourselves.<P>******************************<P><B>Luciana Brett</B><P>MICHAEL CLARK<BR>SADLER’S WELLS, 24 - 28 OCTOBER 2001<P><BR>It is hard to say whether Michael Clark shocks us or disappoints us.<P>Of course, in Clark’s dances of the early 80’s, bare bums, exposed breasts, platform boots and wigs looked naughty, especially coming from a dancer originally trained at<BR>the Royal Ballet School.<P>But revived today as the first part of "Before and After: The Fall", 80’s punk music and provocative behaviour doesn’t shock us, instead one could say it amuses us. <P>The irreverent nature of the piece survives only in its ironies, the way, for example, the dancers demonstrate a tough, sexy attitude, dressed in ‘military’ shirts and fluffy pants, while maintaining an immaculate classical technique. <P>Moving on nearly two decades from this youthful impudence, and Clark has far from mellowed. In the program’s second half he collaborates with Sarah Lucas, considered<BR>to be one of the most ‘in-yer- face’ of the Young British Artists. <P>Clark’s new piece "Rise", with Lucas as designer, certainly packs the stage with jaw-dropping effects. Fluorescent light tubes carried above their heads by the dancers, a film showing a man masturbating (thankfully he is turned away from us), a 23 foot forearm and fist, which moves up and down, insinuating the same thing, and a giant ball of metal wire rolled across the stage manipulated by a dancer walking inside it.<P>Within the space of twenty minutes Clark manages to show off each of these startling images, in quick succession, but without really exploring any one of them in depth. <P>The initial impact is not sustained and each section tails off in anti-climax. It is quite intriguing, for example, when the light tubes first appear but then all we are offered are a few slow, simple formations by the dancers, followed by the lights going out one by one, to no particular effect.<P>While the technique of Clark’s movement is highly energetic, powered with precision and accuracy, it seems rather feebly related to Lucas’ ham-fisted (literally!) designs.<P>The end result was surprise rather than thought-provoking depth. <P>**********************************<P>


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 Post subject: Re: New Reviewers' Competition 2
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2001 5:49 am 
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<B>Wendy Steatham on Ricochet Dance Company</B><BR>The Place, London<BR>Monday 29 – Tuesday 30 October 2001 <P>The House of Magnet’s Enigmatic Sin<P><BR>In this double-bill, Ricochet Dance Company’s method of inviting different choreographers to create works for them has highlighted their talent and vivacity.<P>House of Magnet, choreographed by Stephen Petronio is powerful and intense. Magnetism is the theme of the choreography and while the five dancers seem to portray iron filings, the clustered shape that dominates their spatial arrangement resembles a magnet. Accordingly, the dancers, like electrons in the metal, spin around, quickly and close together. As they move around the stage in this way, with limbs shooting out fast and at random, excitement and danger like an electric current, is produced. <P>Although the dancers follow their line of force reluctantly, at times it appears that the magnet is taken past its limit. Its power is lost and the dancers separate. Dave Waring takes the first solo, which is danced with beautiful but strong precision. Several short solos and duets are performed, however the dancers always come back to the cluster. Moments of unison that occur between the dancers are particularly powerful and this is often shown with certain movements performed on different levels or with different body parts. The iron filings appear to line up, attracted by another magnetic force. <P>The sound score, in addition, is percussive and seems to represent thunder, as the static electricity produces threatening bangs and crashes.<P>The attracting and repelling, closeness and bond of the performers, on a different level, may be highlighting some kind of social integration. What is clear, however, is that the work enhances the company’s close relationship and affinity. <P>In contrast to the energetic movement that dominated House of Magnet, Gary Carter’s The Enigma of Sin is a theatrical piece.<P>Anna Williams is the first to appear. She represents God in this Old Testament spoof. Wearing a red dressing gown, she addresses the audience with such lines as ‘Ladies and Gentlespoons, Toys and Girls,’ which sets a rather comical, if not ridiculous mood. David Waring is introduced as the angel Michael, wearing a glittery suit and sunglasses, seemingly portraying a heavenly hard-man. God explains that Michael will perform tricks. He rather unimpressively cuts a piece of rope in two with scissors, before God ties and gags him. A blackout follows, leaving the audience confused, though perhaps enjoying the unusual nonsense. <P>Karin Fischer-Potisk appears wearing a gold bodice and red baggy trousers as the fiery and glitzy Lucifer, while Kate Gower as Eve, wears a short dress and bare feet, showing her innocence and vulnerability. Ben Wright as Jesus, resembles a young ventriloquist’s dummy, his voice coming from God, who, by now is wearing a see-through body suit and is moving through religious positions and balances.<P>More ridiculous situations follow. The characters put an oboe together then dismantle it, Michael pulls stars from his pocket and Jesus holds a talking clanger toy. Tinsel represents an intestine, as the work appears like a pantomime, almost making a mockery of religion. <P>A serious layer is obvious however. As Eve grows up there is an intense and sexual moment between her and Lucifer, as the devil entices her. The music is also rather sombre, with clever effects played faultlessly by the musicians. <P>The piece highlights the curiosity of religion and as such the audience members are able to either make various interpretations or just enjoy the performance. This unique work, for a similar company certainly makes a refreshing change and proves Ricochet’s diversity and excitement.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: New Reviewers' Competition 2
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2001 5:52 am 
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<B>Lyndsey Winship on Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe</B> <BR>The Place - Robin Howard Dance Theatre, 22nd Oct<P>Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe is a genuine performer. Not a genuine ‘performer’ - all self-assurance and dazzling grins - but a ‘genuine’ peformer. There’s no artifice, no showing off, no abstract intellectual agenda. Instead just an unbridled artist who wants to communicate; across cultures and times, with the audience and with the spirits of his ancestors.<P>There are few people who could command a whole stage for a whole evening by themselves. As an audience, we are used to the dynamics of changing partnerships, interactions, the physical padding of more bodies filling the space. But Mantsoe rarely seems alone. Accompanied by singing voices, they dance with him. The expressions on his face tell of family, friends and followers. We are not watching a dance, we are witnessing a ritual.<P>His first piece, ‘Phokwane’, does literally tell of his family, and is a tribute to his parents. Shifting through characters with sudden snaps, Mantsoe travels through his memories. Held in his fist is both power and pain; a visible breath makes vulnerable his solid sweat-slicked torso; while unfolding and unfurling limbs reach out to people and places of his past.<P>Mantsoe’s muscles isolate with flick-book precision and small movements beat a rhythm, building into trance. ‘Possessed’ is a word often used to describe Manstoe’s performance, but there is no more fitting way to express his haunted figure, siezed by frantic energy. The accompaning music is mostly traditional African and African influenced sounds, but to the surprise of the audience, halfway through ‘Barena’, the story of a king and the trappings of his kingship, we fly miles west to an orchestral version of Satie’s Gymnopedie no. 1. The schmaltz struggles to contain Mantsoe’s violent fervour, his instinctive choreography, but he also sheds new light on a well-worn piece. <P>For this English audience member, a piece of Satie carries immediate associations and assumptions while for Mantsoe it is simply a beautiful piece of music. I am reminded how little I really know of the traditional African dance and ritual that forms the basis of Mantsoe’s dance. It is easy to be sceptical about the Western culture that surrounds the consumption of world musics/dance - all Buena Vista dinner parties, drumming workshops for gap year students and a touch of the cultural voyeur. But tonight I am unaware of that. Mantsoe is an honest performer, he really dances for joy, which can’t fail to touch anyone.<P>Rooted to the earth yet leaping with abandon, contractions shudder through his whole physique in vigourous celebration. Mantsoe fixes us with a stare, plays wth us, invites us onstage. The most touching moment is the applause, as the audience gratefully stand in appreciation, they are tangibly moved, blessed by a burst of communication. That is an inspiring thing.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: New Reviewers' Competition 2
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2001 5:55 am 
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<B>Joanne on 'Luna' - O Vertigo Dance</B><BR>Queen Elizabeth Hall - 23.10.01<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><BR>"My dance" she says "is about vertigo, the allure of the abyss, exhilaration, free-falling emotion."<BR>Quote from Ginette Laurin, documented by Rober Racine, 2000<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>O Vertigo Danse from Quebec are a company that seem to combine the look of effortlessness and clean lifts with a great deal of athleticism and strength. They are also a very emotive company that need to be approached on an individual and sensual level. Luna constantly defined space both personal and between human beings with the dancers continually assessing the different ways in which space and connections could be made between pairs and groups of human beings. The company highlighted this through many entwining lifts and shapings, often complemented by the score which was at times resonant of electric currents - connections made, but not seen or tangible to the eye.<P>The moon was obviously significant from the title and the many clever technical and visual aspects of the performance highlighted this theme well. The large magnifying glasses appearing, as the programme notes describe, "like phases of the moon," enlarged the dancers faces in a grotesquely beautiful way reminiscent of the sort of fantasy and mystical qualities of a man in the moon - a singular face separate from the world and anyone surrounding it.<P>The moon and the many cyclical design elements both in the the dancers movements (rounded, almost balletic arms at times, dancers rolling and wrapping around each other) and in the artistic design of the costumes (large hooped skirts and large round magnifying glasses) triggered from a feminine perspective the many associations the moon has with female cycles. Images such as the camera placed underneath one of the female dancers hooped skirts which then projected images of the dancers moving body onto a screen behind reminded me of the foetal pictures of child in the womb. The same dancer then appearing with projected images of natural elements - earth and fire, onto her hooped skirt, like a giant mother nature, reinforced this connection. Whether this was just a connection I made it seems that the piece is succeeding in its' aims to explore the darker zones that make up the inner self.<P>This is a production of great interest. Technically I felt towards the end there needed to be some more variations in movement but thematically I feel it is successfully awakening a fascination with the human body as one and other.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: New Reviewers' Competition 2
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2001 6:00 am 
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<B>Christine on Richard Alston Dance company</B><P>Alston's mixed bill opened The Place on 10 October as part of the Dance Umbrella. The evening was a medley of Alston's work ranging 20 years.<BR>The evening was full of what I call 'dancer's dance', by that I mean, the sort of dance that appeals to those of us very familiar with 'modern dance', but would probably leave Average Joe On The Street bored to tears - or worse - alienated.<P>'Lachrymae' was an emotional piece centred around 3 duets which echo the emotional range of Britten's score. The music does most of the work throughout the dance, and while the score was overwhelmingly percussive and rythmic, the dance struggled to keep up. I didn't like this piece, but I was not in majority as the sold-out house absolutely loved it. This piece was created in 1994 and is a very good representation of the 'modern' canon of western theatrical dance.<P>The highlight of the show for me was 'Strange Company', there's something about having live accompaniment on stage which adds a very human element to dance. It seemed to me the only piece where the dancers were really feeling the music.<P>The second movement of 'Strange Company' was fantastic, in its dynamic range and energetic dancing. All the solo work was beatifully executed with flawless lines and excellent musicality. The star of the show was obviously danseur Jason Piper. He matched and then challenged the nuances of the music and his sharp and defined movement that was about as exact as a mathematical equation. <P>My biggest criticism of Alston's crew is that they lack a sense of togetherness, and I felt that throughout the evening they did not dance consistently enough together to constitute an ensemble and they might as well have been 10 solo artists who just happened to be dancing together in the same room. <P>That is harsh, I know, I don't like writing reviews like this, and I think I have the courage to do so, only because my identity is somewhat protected with just my first name appearing in the byline.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: New Reviewers' Competition 2
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2001 6:01 am 
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<B> Christine on Batsheva Dance Company</B><P><BR>Veteran choreographer, Ohad Naharin's latest work, 'Sabotage Baby', is a fabulous full-length dark and bizarre ballet set to a live industrial score. <P>It opens with a quirky, rather autistic Cha-Cha performed by a ghoulish looking Master of Ceremonies; this touch of nostalgia transports the audience to a scene reminiscent of a factory floor in the middle part of the last century. <P>There are two musicians on stage who play an acoustic set on found objects. The steady beat and ambient sound accompanies a sultry duet, but soon the industrial score takes over and propels the dancers into a frenetic dance comprised of intricate gesture and percussive movement, as if possessed by some terrible demon. Slow, deliberate almost meditative movement, contrasts the former and evokes images of calm in the face of adversity. Nuances of Latin flavoured choreography seem to underscore the piece.<P>Soon Naharin brings us into a sinister dream world, where all the dancers on stage seem to experiencing horrific visions in their sleep. There is a touch of filmmaker David Lynch's surreal quality when what appears to be an Angel of Death takes to the stage in stilts and in cyber fetishist costuming.<P>Just when it started to feel a bit like some funfair gone awry, it was time for the interval.<P>Bracing myself for more of the same in act two, I was pleasantly surprised with the puppet-like dance of the Chinese Princess, the 5 puppeteers were some sort of<BR>Bedouin-cum-Tibetan monk hybrid. The light and humourous accompaniment by our industrial minstrels completed the vignette.<P>Soonafter, we are launched back into Sabotage Baby's fierce and unrelenting physicality that is Batsheva's signature. The dancers make it seem all so easy and fluid despite the complexity of highly personal gesture interspersed with leaps and bounds across the stage. The Angel of Death makes another appearance - this time with her cohorts who are on even higher stilts, their presence on stage gives the impression of a surreal Mardi Gras.<P>The ballet winds down as the dancers become a moving choir. They undulate up and down the stage like waves, singing a haunting rendition of what sounds like 'Frere Jacques', a familiar nursery rhyme delivered like some doomsday revelation in its tonal quality.<P>I think there is something to be said about escapism, especially during a time when Britain and the US seem to be teetering on the edge of war. Of course, those who know Batsheva, don't expect an evening of 'entertainment' but rather expect an experience lived vicariously through stellar craftsmanship and powerful dancers. However, 'Sabotage Baby' is not for the lighthearted.<BR>


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