Wilding through Euripides

The tragic end of Rude Mech's reconstruction of the Performance Group's Dionysus in 69 (after Euripedes). The principal dead body: Pentheus (Josh Meyer)  ruler of Thebes. Photo: Ian Douglas

“Why a dance critic?”  Richard Schechner doesn’t use those words, but he implies them as he greets me at New York Live Arts, where I’ve arrived for a reconstruction by the Austin, Texas, ensemble Rude Mechs of his Dionysus in 69. Why not? For one thing, I missed this epochal and controversial piece of “environmental theater” (Schechner’s term), when he and his actors presented it in the Performing … [Read more...]

Portaging the ’60s into 2012

Simone Forti finding the words and the moves. Photo: Ian Douglas

Here’s how Simone Forti laid out her 1961 From Instructions: “One man is told that he must lie on the floor during the entire piece. Another is told that he must tie the first man to the wall.” (I like picturing the possibilities inherent in this structured improvisation.) In her wonderful 1974 book, Handbook in Motion, Forti mentions that the room in which From Instructions was first performed … [Read more...]

Is My Wife Having an Affair?

Wendy Whelan in the film Labyrinth Within. Photo: Martin Nisser

When Christopher Wheeldon founded a dance company in 2007 and called it Morphoses/the Wheeldon Company, he couldn’t have known how prophetic that name would become. From the beginning, the repertory balanced works by Wheeldon, one of the most gifted choreographers of his generation, with those by other youngish artists. Three years later, Wheeldon left Morphoses after a serious dispute over the … [Read more...]

Re Winterbranch: The Comment That Grew

Winterbranch in 1971 performance. Carolyn Brown leaping. Photo: James Klosty

If you happened to read “East to West to East,” my Arts Journal response to Benjamin Millepied’s new company, L.A. Dance Project, soon after I posted it on October 29 (which was shortly before I lost power and connectivity), you will find some small but crucial changes in the early November updates. They occur in my passage about the lighting for the group’s staging of Merce Cunningham’s 1964 … [Read more...]

Then Plus Now

Setterfield amid the winding procession of photos come to life. Photo: Paula Court

David Gordon is the King of Repetition, and I don’t want to hear any back talk. He manages dance material like someone holding an object up to direct sun, then to a candle flame, setting it against different backgrounds, turning it sideways. “Look at it now. Now look again.” He’s also a master re-arranger—juxtaposing past to present, rehearsal to performance, new to old, life to art. Gordon was … [Read more...]