A choreographer comes forward: "I have made a dance to Dylan."
[ed. note: I received this email last night, from choreographer Janis Brenner]
Someone referred me to your excellent site because of your dialogue on Tharp and Dylan. I love the whole conversation. I do want to let you know that in 1995-96 I made a work to several Dylan songs, entitled "What About Bob" (before there was a movie...), which first uses really outrageous renditions of Dylan classics -- "sung" (butchered) by Sebastian Cabot and William Shatner -- and then finally the real Dylan, in "Like A Rolling Stone" and "It Ain't Me Babe." The piece goes from truly absurd to rather poignant.
Literally yesterday, I was in rehearsal reviving the final duet section, created with dancer-choreographer Richard Siegal, for a spot on my 25th anniversary season coming up this February 1-4. Richard and I were discussing the fact that I had made this work more than ten years ago, and recalled being quite nervous about attempting to do ANYTHING to Dylan, a childhood hero of mine.
We did tour the work on and off for a few years, and it was always much better received than I had ever anticipated. I think if I had created the work soley to the famous Dylan songs and not had the terrible/hilarious versions first, the piece might never have worked. I was saved by Shatner (doing "Mr. Tambourine Man") and Cabot, and the idea of a rather twisted tribute to folk music and folk dance.
When I heard that Twyla Tharp was attemping a full-scale, Broadway production to Dylan...well, I must say, I was worried for her right from the outset. I was lucky, and kept my love for and tribute to him small-scale and encased in other ideas.
So, yes, and why not!? Someone should put together an evening of individual, small-scale Dylan interpretations. If it's done, we'll be ready. Come see our absurd-yet-heartfelt duet in February. And thank you for all this astute, necesssary dance dialogue.
AJ BlogsAJBlogCentral | rss
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
rock culture approximately
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
No genre is the new genre
David Jays on theatre and dance
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
John Rockwell on the arts
innovations and impediments in not-for-profit arts
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Martha Bayles on Film...
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
Joe Horowitz on music
Jerome Weeks on Books
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
Public Art, Public Space
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary