Archive for May, 2008

Choreographer Susan Rethorst just wants to stay home. I can relate. For Rethorst, the whirlwind of touring and teaching all over the world has made her appreciate the calm quiet of her living room. For me, there’s the less glamorous whirlwind of trying to keep up with the NY performance world. Now granted, from this description neither Rethorst nor I have a particularly tough life and the pressures and pleasures that pull us away from our respective homes don’t seem so bad. In fact, they’re not bad, but one does crave some down time.

Rethorst’s solution was to create a performance in her living room, which was then displaced to more traditional venues (Dance Theater Workshop last season and Danspace Project this weekend.)  At a post-performance discussion last night, Rethorst commented on the escalating expense of creating performance in New York City and the increasing competition for studio space.  After harboring some frustration that it would be nearly impossible for her to make this new work the way that she has been making works since the 1980s (ah, those mythical times), Rethorst asked the performers with whom she was working, “Can’t you all just come to my house to make this?”

I like the example she’s set: Stop complaining.  Look at what you have.  Start from there.  Be honest.  Take care of yourself.

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I’ve given in to the inertia of Facebook, and I’ll never be the same. I’m amazed (and a little appalled) at my capacity to spend hours in a delirium of fake plants and fake flair, pondering a clever “status update” to impress my virtual friends. Still, I guess it’s mostly just replaced the time I stole to watch America’s Next Top Model and Step it Up and Dance.

Between Celebreality and Cyber-reality, pop culture entertainment is cropping up a lot in contemporary performance. I know I’m not the first to point this out, but I’m thinking about it in particular after watching Eleanor Bauer’s AT LARGE at The Chocolate Factory last night.

AT LARGE was ambitious and thoughtful (and has garnered a lot of press attention.) — [On a side note, has anyone noticed that the verb “garnered” is only used in the past tense and only in reference to the object of “attention?”] Anyway — AT LARGE contains all kinds of little nods and winks to entertainment – gold sequins, catchy songs, a competition, even promotional give-aways. Yet, despite all of this, the main focus of the piece is movement. It’s old-school dance in a tricked-out package.

I found myself more interested in the packaging around the movement elements than the movement elements themselves, which made me wonder, “Am I so accustomed to being entertained by ironic glitter that I can’t engage with a smart, well-danced, movement exploration anymore?” If so, can I blame Tyra?

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