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 Post subject: Dance To Music By Steve Reich (70th Birthday Celebration)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 12:17 am 
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Quote:
Dance to Music
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian
published: September 30, 2006

Both Alston and De Keersmaeker show an intellectual deference to the music, but in Akram Khan's setting of Variations for Vibes Pianos and Strings, he and his two dancers take on Reich as a physical and emotional challenge.

...

Reich, who took his 70th-birthday bow on Thursday evening, looked beamingly happy.
more...


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Quote:
Steve Reich at 70, Barbican Hall, London
by DAVID MURRAY for the Financial Times
published: October 2, 2006

That makes very easy listening, even compared to Ravel’s Bolero, which does the same thing with a longer, better tune and more fetching orchestration. Nobody needs any classical experience to appreciate it for what it is: plain, transparent, relentlessly repetitive and inexpressive.
more...


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Quote:
Ballet Boyz, Sadler's Wells, London
Dance To Music By Steve Reich, Barbican, London

by ZOE ANDERSON for the Independent
published: October 3, 2006

Khan's steps are patchy; he catches the change and flow of this music, without building a structure. But I loved the contrasts of movement.
more in the second part of linked article


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 4:12 am 
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Quote:
Reich/De Keersmaeker/Khan, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York
by HILARY OSTLERE for the Financial Times
published: October 4, 2006

Steve Reich is 70, we are being told over and over. For one birthday celebration, BAM has put together a dance programme consisting of Anne Teresa De Keermaeker’s 1982 Rosas to Fase, four movements to the music of Steve Reich and the distinctly more entertaining Variations for Vibes,Pianos and Strings by the London-based choreographer de jour Akram Khan, not so well known in the US yet.The link between these two is that Kahn once danced in De Keersmaeker’s company.
more...


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 9:49 pm 
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Posted by Cassandra elsewhere:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rosas/Alston/Khan
Dance to Music by Steve Reich
Barbican Centre
London
28th September 2006


Part 1 Rosas

In this programme three very different choreographers create works to the music of Steve Reich. The first part, Piano Phrase, is performed by Rosas to a recording of Reich’s Piano Phase and Violin Phase from Fase: this music is stark and ascetic in its nature and it is very much to De Keersmaeker’s credit that she is able to interpret such a difficult score so effortlessly. In the first half of the work the two dancers (De Keersmaeker and Tale Dolven) are rather plainly dressed in simple almost colourless dresses with white ankle socks and sneakers, although they are just two, they cast three shadows that become four when they begin to dance. The chorography is as spare and basic as the minimalist score itself with repeated turns with one arm outstretched at a speed that is neither fast nor slow, the pace exactly matching that of the music. The repetitious character of the steps could easily be boring, however it is anything but with the movement developing an hypnotic quality that draws the viewer into the inexorable rhythms of the dance. The second half, Violin Phase, is an extended solo for De Keersmaeker that begins with her barely visible on the darkened stage with only her torso slightly illuminated. By degrees the light increases until she casts a giant shadow that eventually becomes two. As ever I admired her stamina in this demanding piece, as this is a lady who never spares herself physically.

Part 2 Richard Alston Dance Company

The music of the second work, Perotin Viderunt Omnes and Proverb could not be more different from the first as this is Reich acknowledging the past with a nod to both Elizabethan part songs and Renaissance church liturgy. Beautifully sung by The Theatre of Voices and Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen grouped at the back of the stage, this far more varied score offered opportunities for more emotional involvement with the music. With a company of ten, the groupings were many and varied beginning with a duet for two men and eventually encompassing the entire troupe. There was a strange contrast between the girls’ smart cocktail style dresses and the mens’ loose tee shirts as if formal and very casual were experimenting in interaction. At times I caught a slight almost imperceptible gesture of arm and wrist hinting at courtly posturings of the past, but this was momentary. The engaging choreography was both flowing and energetic, reflecting the music but perhaps on this occasion not creating any really lasting images.

Part 3 Akram Khan Company

The backdrop to Akram Khan’s contribution to the evening is the London Sinfonietta, ranged around the back and sides of the stage leaving a well-defined rectangle at the front of the stage as a performing space. Reich’s Variations for Vibes, Pianos and strings requires a larger then usual percussion section and the massed ranks of players seem to have had a significant influence on Khan’s creation. The work begins with a smile-inducing example of Khan’s humour when company member Gregory Macqoma sits on a chair, looks out into the auditorium and says “Hi”, quite a few audience members return his greeting and he proceeds to tell as a little about himself. Soon however it becomes apparent that he is in fact engaged in an interview with an invisible interviewer and you begin to play a game with him of guessing what the original questions were. After a few minutes of this conductor Alan Pierson comes forward with a gesture that reminds us that Macqoma is there to dance and with chair and dancer removed the music and dancing begin. The humour continues with a witty sequence of the three dancers with their backs to the stage conducting the orchestra, both a parody of a conductor’s movements and an opportunity to admire some particularly fluid arm movements by the dancers. Khan’s arms of course were the most fluidly beautiful of all.

This was a very lengthy programme that was both a tribute to Steve Reich’s music and to the choreographers and dancers that interpreted it in their own individual styles. Audience reaction was rapturous and the applause prolonged. The evenings performance was dedicated to the memory of recently deceased John Drummond who was not only a fierce champion of Reich’s music, but of modern music in general besides being a great lover of dance in all its forms.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 9:50 pm 
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Also posted by Cassandra elsewhere:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Clement Crisp's take on this programme:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/d30ae4a8-51b1-1 ... e2340.html

I suppose liking two out of three isn't too bad by his standards.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 9:51 pm 
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Posted by Stuart Sweeney elsewhere:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Quote:
I suppose liking two out of three isn't too bad by his standards.


Yes, indeed, Cassandra, but I have to say that your description:

Quote:
The repetitious character of the steps could easily be boring, however it is anything but with the movement developing an hypnotic quality that draws the viewer into the inexorable rhythms of the dance.


is exactly my memory of the work from 10 years ago. Indeed, I would call this early-1980's piece a contemporary dance classic.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 9:58 pm 
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A similar program was performed in NY, at the BAM Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn, with Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker's Rosas and Akram Khan Company backed by the London Sinfonietta making the trip across the Atlantic.

De Keersmaeker's "Fase," inspite being minimalist, was definitely the more inventive and mesmerizing of the two works on display. She has the ability to hypnotize the audience with the simplest gestures and leaving this NYC audience wanting more.

Khan on the other hand, in my personal opinion, did less with a lot more resources at his disposal.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 7:57 am 
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I was at the same program as you, Azlan (as a matter of fact, the guy sitting next to me looked somewhat like you), and I felt much the same.

I felt that both choreographers' work proved that Doris Humphrey was right*, but De Keersmaeker's work was much more interesting and reflected the minimalist quality of the music better**.

Neither choreographer was well-served by the lighting designers, who obviously were more concerned with creating (very) striking pictures than they were with making sure the movement could be seen. I'm hardly an advocate of bland, even lighting in all cases, but it's possible to be visually impactful while retaining visibility.

Kudos are due to the London Sinfonieta, who provided the live music for Khan's piece, although the inclusion of the conductor in the choreography was a bit contrived.


* "All dances are too long."

** Although I confess that whenever I hear people raving about Steve Reich, I look around for a naked emperor.

_________________
Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
Dance Lighting Design
http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 3:28 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Thanks to Azlan for consolidating the two topics. As this was a contemporary dance programme, part of the Dance Umbrella festival, which we are covering in the "Modern/Contemporary" forum, I shall move the consolidated topic there.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 3:11 am 
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
Settling Old Scores
by DEBORAH JOWITT for the Village Voice
published: October 10, 2006

In Piano Phase, for example, she and Tale Dolven, backed by their magically multiplying and merging shadows, gradually accumulate and reorder a series of movements along a corridor of light at the back of the stage. Swinging one arm vigorously, making half-turns as they stride, they travel very little. Occasionally they pause or prolong a moment. The choreography shrewdly visualizes the way the strands of Reich's music slip in and out of phase with one another; ...
more...


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Quote:
Magnificent celebration of the minimalist master
by IVAN HEWETT for the Daily Telegraph
published: October 10, 2006

Such enthusiasm would be baffling for those who regard minimalism as the nearest thing in music to toothache.
more...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 7:40 am 
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I agree with both those comments.

To sum it up, De Keersmaeker's choreography was about the music, while Khan's, I thought, was about...Khan.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:45 am 
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From Marica Siegel in the Boston Phoenix:
Quote:
Lines and phases
Steve Reich’s 70th at BAM

.... [Reich's] major sources of influence — jazz, West African drumming, and Balinese gamelan — also depend on a galvanizing pulse and draw little distinction between musicmaking and dancing. As a dancer noted when introducing Akram Khan’s new Variations for Vibes, Pianos and Strings last week at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, “We’re working in the place where the music and the dance are one.”

More...


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