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 Post subject: Dance Umbrella - New Reviewers' Competition
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2001 9:11 am 
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<B>New Reviewers' Competition</B><P>Dance Umbrella, Dance Theatre Journal and criticaldance have joined together to organise a New Reviewers' Competition to encourage the use of the Internet for critical writing. Websites such as criticaldance offer a real chance for new dance critics to practise their craft and reach a worldwide audience.<P> Image <P>There will be £50 prizes for up to 3 winners and a selection of the reviews will be published in <A HREF="http://www.laban.co.uk/journal/introduction.php3" TARGET=_blank><B>Dance Theatre Journal</B></A>, one of the most highly respected dance magazines in the UK. <P>If you're new to reviewing, that's OK and to help you we have an <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/features/writingreviews.html" TARGET=_blank><B>introductory guide to on-line reviewing</B></A>. <P>Here are the full rules of the Competition:<P>1. The Competition is for reviews of performances in Dance Umbrella 2001. <P>2. The Competition is open to all, except those who have had dance reviews published in magazines, newspapers or journals before 31 September 2001. However, previous publication on Internet sites is not a bar to entry. <P>3. Entries must: <P>- be your own work <BR>- each review must cover a single performance, but there is no limit to the number of your reviews that will be considered in the Competition <BR>- be written in English and be between 300 and 600 words in length<P>4. Your reviews should be placed initially in the Dance Umbrella forum in the thread that has been set up for the relevant dance presentation. If you have not done so already you will need to <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/cgi-local/Ultimate.cgi?action=agree" TARGET=_blank><B>register</B></A> in order to make a posting. <P>5. To enter the Competition, simply post a reply in this thread, with the message:<P>Please consider my Dance Umbrella reviews for the New Reviewers' Competition. I am eligable for the Competition and agree to be bound by the rules. The e-mail address given with my registration is still operative. <P>6. The competition closes on November 12th. Judging will take place in the following week by a panel selected by Dance Umbrella and Dance Theatre Journal. The decisions of the judges will be final and the winners will be announced on criticaldance. <P>7. Up to 3 prizes will be awarded of £50 each and a selection of the reviews submitted will be published in Dance Theatre Journal. <P> <P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited October 03, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Umbrella - New Reviewers' Competition
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2001 3:34 pm 
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Please consider my Dance Umbrella reviews for the New Reviewers' Competition. I am eligible for the Competition and agree to be bound by the rules. The email address given with my registration is operative.<P>EXPERIENCE BEYOND TEXT<BR>Review of Mark Morris Dance Group’s Performance at Sadler’s Wells, London, 17 October 2001<P>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.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Umbrella - New Reviewers' Competition
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2001 8:38 am 
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Please consider my Dance Umbrella reviews for the New Reviewers' Competition. I am eligable for the Competition and agree to be bound by the rules. The e-mail address given with my registration is still operative. <P>


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Umbrella - New Reviewers' Competition
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2001 9:13 am 
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Please consider my Dance Umbrella reviews for the New Reviewers' Competition. I am eligible for the Competition and agree to be bound by the rules. The e-mail address given with my registration is still operatiive.<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. <BR> <BR>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>[This message has been edited by jwcw2 (edited November 12, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Umbrella - New Reviewers' Competition
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2001 9:32 am 
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Many thanks jwcw2 for your Michael Clark review. I've copied into the Michael Clark thread:<BR> <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum14/HTML/000008.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum14/HTML/000008.html</A> <P>Having registered in this thread you can then post your reviews in the artist/company-based threads. Looking forward to more reviews from you.


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Umbrella - New Reviewers' Competition
PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2001 12:02 pm 
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Please consider my Dance Umbrella review for the New Reviewers' Competition. I am eligible for the Competition and agree to be bound by the rules. The e-mail address given with my registration is still operative.<P>THE INS & OUTS OF 1984 IN ENGLAND, 2001<P>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><BR><p>[This message has been edited by jwcw2 (edited November 07, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Umbrella - New Reviewers' Competition
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2001 11:29 am 
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Please consider my Dance Umbrella reviews for the New Reviewers' Competition. I am eligable for the Competition and agree to be bound by the rules. The e-mail address given with my registration is still operative. <P>Mark Morris Dance Group<BR>SADLER’S WELLS, 16 - 20 OCTOBER 2001<P><BR> <P>LUCIANA BRETT:<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>


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Umbrella - New Reviewers' Competition
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2001 11:31 am 
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Please consider my Dance Umbrella reviews for the New Reviewers' Competition. I am eligable for the Competition and agree to be bound by the rules. The e-mail address given with my registration is still operative. <P>MICHAEL CLARK<BR>SADLER’S WELLS, 24 - 28 OCTOBER 2001<P> <P>LUCIANA BRETT:<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. <BR> <P><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Umbrella - New Reviewers' Competition
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2001 11:34 am 
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Please consider my Dance Umbrella reviews for the New Reviewers' Competition. I am eligable for the Competition and agree to be bound by the rules. The e-mail address given with my registration is still operative. <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.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Umbrella - New Reviewers' Competition
PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2001 4:23 am 
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Please consider my Dance Umbrella reviews for the New Reviewers'<BR> Competition. I am eligable for the Competition and agree to be bound by the<BR> rules. The e-mail address given with my registration is still operative.


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Umbrella - New Reviewers' Competition
PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2001 6:03 am 
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Many thanks Luciana for your three reviews. I have also posted copies in the threads devoted to each of the performances.


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Umbrella - New Reviewers' Competition
PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2001 8:10 am 
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Dance Umbrella is drawing to a close (boo-hoo) this weekend with the Ballett Frankfurt, Déjà Donné and Carol Brown performing on Saturday night.<P>The closing date for the New Reviewers' Competition is 12th November, so do get those reviews finished and posted before that the deadline and don't forget to register here. Follow Christine's example with the simple statement. Your review should go in the appropriate thread for the production. For those who have included their reviews here - no problem.<P>If you have any queries please contact me here or by e-mail:<P>stuart@criticaldance.com


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Umbrella - New Reviewers' Competition
PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2001 1:11 pm 
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Please consider my Dance Umbrella reviews for the New Reviewers'Competition. I am egliable for the Competition and agree to be bound by the rules. The e-mail address given with my registration is still operative.


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Umbrella - New Reviewers' Competition
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2001 1:45 pm 
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Please consider my Dance Umbrella reviews for the New Reviewers' Competition. I am eligible for the Competition and agree to be bound by the rules. The e-mail address given with my registration is still operative.<P>“I’d Love to See a Dance”<P>Ballett Frankfurt: Edios: 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. <P>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 of a magnified musical instrument that stretch across stage. <P>No matter how movements are initiated, despite the fact that there are no clocks, timers, metronomes, 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, <P>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 sees 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 giggles and scratches their heads when they hear dancers swear, negotiate business and order the others to dance in a foreign language. <P>As the trombones blare 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 delivered a monologue in Part II in partial dance costume now throws away its remains. The trombones continue to make violent 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 intriguing thoughts to bring to our next “dance”. <BR><p>[This message has been edited by jwcw2 (edited November 12, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Umbrella - New Reviewers' Competition
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2001 2:02 pm 
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Location: Michigan USA / London UK
Please consider my Dance Umbrella review for the New Reviewers’ Competition. I am eligible for the Competition and agree to be bound by the rules. The e-mail address given with my registration is still operative.<P>DÉJÀ DONNÉ - ARIAL SPINTA<BR>The Place, Robin Howard Dance Theatre<BR>10 November, 2001 - 8pm<P>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.<BR><p>[This message has been edited by Shawn Renee Lent (edited November 11, 2001).]

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