This just in from Eva:
Forget the Macaulay mauling [in the New York Times]! Go to the BAM Harvey and see Doug Varone and Dancers in “Dense Terrain”–a deeply layered, multidimensional piece of dance theater; indeed, so dense and visceral your skin will crawl and you’ll fight for breath. And isn’t that everything dance should be? Fantastic dancers. Interesting and ultimately touching score by Nathan Larson. Great lighting by Jane Cox. It all ends tonight. So hurry! –Eva Yaa Asantewaa
I had more mixed feelings, Eva, but am with you about the incredible dancers, the vibrant and suggestive music, and that the dance has something very powerful it wants to say.
I thought it got off to a bad start–was too committed to a mystery story that kept it from sufficiently exploring its idea about the people in our head, how they drive us mad and provide solace, etc. A revise might be in order.
But there’s a richness here that would justify such an effort. And Varone’s movement is, as usual, a deep pleasure to behold. So I second the GO emotion, especially as he might NOT revise–it’s not likely he’ll have the resources any time soon.
I agree with your concern, Apollinaire, that
it got off to a bad start–was too committed to a mystery story that kept it from sufficiently exploring its idea about the people in our head, how they drive us mad and provide solace etc.
I don’t think a revision is necessary, though.
In his post-performance discussion on Friday, Varone said he doesn’t want to tell viewers what the piece means, and he’d like us to all find our own interpretation of it. Usually, I can appreciate that strategy. But it’s a little odd in “Dense Terrain,” since it is so very clearly about someone, a very particular someone. So when we look at Varone’s movement strategies (so rashly rejected by Alastair Macaulay in the Times), maybe we’re looking at the physical manifestation (or consequences) of Varone’s reluctance to commit to a meaning.
But this choreographer can make resonant visual images like nobody’s business–as you said, a pleasure. ~Eva