I went to Dance Salad last weekend with mom (visiting) which was a little nerve-wracking because I wasn’t sure how she’d fair for two days of three-hour dances. I’ll run down my high points:
Xing Liang performed a quick solo called Existence. I wish I had the dance vocabulary to give you a proper run-down on this one There weren’t any bells or whistles, no tropes, narratives, shout-outs, or tricks. Can’t really say where it all came from. But I can say it was straight-up and intense. Soaring, really. A side note, I will say the man appeared to have freakishly large hands. Mom said it was the dancing that made them look big but I’m not so sure. I’ve tried to research this online but haven’t come up with much yet.
. This is a an old piece, created in 1985, but I’ve never seen it done and was absolutely enthralled. It felt very intellectual and odd in the way the gestures spelled everything out (hence, the title). Many of the gestures didn’t fit together exactly, didn’t “flow” to use a pretty idiotic term, yet still proceeded as if finishing a sentence. This made me think of what a sentence does, what it means to do, and how it does it. Maybe a dance can be like a sentence, be this propulsion of gestures toward some new or undefined meaning? What I’ve learned about Forsythe does lend to this kind of reading of the dance. Tho I haven’t got it quite right yet.
I also enjoyed the technicality of Forsythe ‘s Two Part Invention. Even tho the shtick was pretty ordinary (a piece was performed with flawless classical virtuosity and then redone in a jerky deconstructed way); the execution was flawless. I loved the movements. I just wish they were used as something more than just a reactionary/intellectual exercise. Maybe I wish the first ‘classical’ part were taken out and we got the crazy stuff straight-up, without any context.
I enjoyed Mats Ek’s performances. When I attended the talk he gave last Wednesday at the MFA, he emphasized the non-collaborative aspect to his choreography. He and he alone develops the dance, perfects the dance, and then begins directing the dancers. This is very different from most experimental dance now, where the dancer and choreographer often engage and influence the movements together. Ek said that this was dangerous because it allows the dancer to do what they like doing instead of what should be done. Anyways, his choreographic approach was clear in dances like Memory and O Sole Mio, both being humorous pieces about getting older, health, and death performed by Ana Laguna. Since Ek is getting on himself, his process lent itself to these confrontations with the body.
However, I was shocked by the youthfulness of the The Apartment, performed by the Royal Swedish Ballet’s touring group Stockholm 59° North. The dance was a really powerful look at new relationships, sex, miscommunication, etc. I felt like the piece sprung from my own head which really shocked me. Maybe I’m just susceptible to these types of topics right now, but I did think the dance was excellent (and not as hokey as some of the ones he screened during his lecture on Wednesday).
And who can forget the man on stilts, the women with hair to her toes, the mechanized insanity of an insect-like man and the yogi who tree posed for what felt like forever? Well, I didn’t because I watched it both nights. The first night, I was interested, engaged, but felt that all the smoke and mirrors was covering up something. The “what’s coming next?” questions was getting in the way of the choreography. So the next night I was able to really enjoy this peice (or actually it was two peices sort of slapped together), especially the music. The mucisicans of Ensemble Micrologus, an Italian Medieval and Renaissance instrumental and vocal group, were all situated on stage with the dancers (lit and everything). The music was really something. Also the choreography was better when I wasn’t distracted with all the props and set-up and allusions.
Anyways. All in all, it was splendid, a word I don’t use but think fitting.