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Posted inPerformance

A Play Brings the Politics of Fascism to 21st-Century America

As a high school kid, I thought Eugène Ionesco was pretty much one of the best writers I had encountered up to that point. He was an entrenched misanthrope with a brutal wit who wasn’t afraid to take on politics, philosophy, and the unfortunate realities of human interaction. And, most importantly to me at that time, one of his sharpest tools was his sense of the absurd. As a teenager who had moved a number of times and changed schools every couple of years, who spent most of her time in her own head or with her nose in books, and who was grappling with depression and a latent queerness, absurdity made perfect sense to me. The world outside of my head was excruciatingly absurd and twisted to me then, and most of the time I hated it and assumed it hated me right back. Ionesco was perfect.

Posted inPerformance

Instrumental People

When DD Dorvillier introduced an excerpt from her Danza Permanente at Judson Church last year, explaining that each of her four dancers would mirror one instrument in a Beethoven string quartet, a dance historian might have been puzzled. On the timeline of American concert dance, this sounded rather familiar: Didn’t the modern dance pioneers Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn do something similar about 100 years ago, when they developed a choreographic approach known as “music visualizations”? Hasn’t Mark Morris, famous for his musically complex choreography, been physicalizing classical scores since the 1980s? Oh, and then there’s Balanchine…

Posted inPerformance

The Light Bulb Moment: Eclipse Debuts in New BAM Space

The British sculptor and installation artist Anthony McCall’s sculptural parallax of thirty-six, 300-watt incandescent bulbs is a site-specific installation for BAM’s new 250-seat Fisher building, made in conjunction with Jonah Bokaer, the thirty-something dance whiz kid. Bokaer was the youngest member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and founder of Chez Bushwick, and his relation to McCall tiptoes around the famed collaborations between Isamu Noguchi and the Martha Graham Company, or Cunningham and Andy Warhol’s helium filled silver pillows. Those collaborations pivoted sculptural sets as integral parts of the choreography.

Posted inPerformance

John Waters Does Vegas?

While skimming through my Facebook news feed last week, I noticed that Murray Hill had posted a picture of himself with Patti Lupone in her dressing room, following a performance of her show Far Away Places, which ran for a couple of nights at the new lounge/cabaret space 54 Below, near Times Square. Just below the picture Murray had a note about the resurgence of nightclub acts he’s noticed of late.

Posted inPerformance

Happily Tangled Webs

On my way to the Joyce SoHo last Wednesday, while thinking about David Gordon’s 50th anniversary — and realizing that, while he has been making work for five decades, I would be seeing it live for the first time that night — I got to wondering: What does Gordon, renowned for resisting any sort of tidy classification, think about these tidy little landmarks called anniversaries?

Posted inPerformance

Ashes to Ashes, Words to Dance

The program for Rashaun Mitchell’s Nox contains a lone explanatory note: “When my brother died I made an epitaph for him in the form of a book. This is a replica of it, as close as we could get.” The words belong to the poet Anne Carson, and they come from the back cover of her eponymous book, published in 2010. They make you wonder: Is what we’re about to see a replica of that book, in the form of a dance, as close as the artists could get? A replica of a replica?

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