Wednesday, October 26, 2016

lump of coal

  The Danish Dance Theater put on an evening long entertainment called Black Diamond.   The minimal set was more entertaining than either the choreography or the dancing.                 
 In full disclosure I must say I am in awe of dancers.  I cannot perform the simplest steps of social dancing.  That they can remember all the physical movement and inject artistry is baffling.  That said my appreciation does not allow me to give a pass to sloppy dancing.  I never hold out much hope for the choreography;  I attend Hubbard Street performances for the high caliber of dancing not for what they are forced to do on stage.   The Danish company's dancing is simply not professional on a basic level.   I read the bios and it seems that none come from a classical backround.  Not that I want them on their toes but without that discipline they can't be on their toes.  For one thing, which I think is basic, they have no idea what to do with their arms.  Nothing is phrased.  The arms just fly up like in a second stringer's  floor routine at the Olympics.  There was one exception.  Some bald dude, who was not a principal, seemed to get it.  He filled the space and was the only thing worth watching when was on stage.  I suspect that he had the most classical training but then good dancing is good dancing.  I have seen "modern" companies that given six months for the women to get en pointe could do Balanchine.   It is not necessary to do Balanchine but the days of just dancing you little heart out have been over for fifty years.  I guess Danish Dance didn't get the memo.
 I am still waiting for something more than adequate choreography.  Surely there is someone with the vision and skill to put on something more than  circus acts with vogueing.  Awhile back a small troop came through with a mixed program which included Cunningham's Rain Forest.  The dancing was alright in the other pieces on the program but in Rain Forest it came to artistic life.  I remembered the piece when I first saw it as being very good.  It still is.   Cunningham and Taylor used to come to town regularly.  There was also MoMing bringing in guest artists to do pieces on their company.   You would go to performances with a sense of excitement and anticipation.   It frequently rewarded.    But the thrill is gone baby. 

  It saddens me that the young, who are not limited to their cell phone screens, will not have the pleasure of seeing their Paul Taylor.  I saw Cloven Kingdom when it was new.   And his Rite of Spring which was such a radical rethinking of the piece that it has haunted me for years.   The most depressing thing about audiences today is the lack of any general critical ability 
 to discern the difference between shit and shineola.  At the end of the Danish Dance performance half the theater stood up in ovation.  I see this a lot for the mediocre  but for a performance that was so shamefully poor it was disturbing ( they did flips, well, so can a  poodle).  There was nudity at the end ( too little to late).  Perhaps that was enough for many.
   In Jules Feiffer's play Little Murders the depressed photographer character tells how he became so successful that he figured he could take pictures of shit and they would sell.   So he did. When asked how that worked out for him he said he was doing the Vogue spring layout.   That is why he was depressed.
  Hardly satire now.

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