GO: Eleanor Bauer's "At Large"
"At Large" is bursting with ideas, dances, experiments in approaching the audience and the world--probably too much of everything, with some of the connecting threads too thin. But how nice for a change, this rigorous excess rather than the usual dour minimalism or clubby encodedness (like a party where every cluster is a closed circle--to you, anyway, as you wander, with plastic cup of bubbly water in hand.) Bauer herself, who's not even 30, is the perfect exemplar of her aesthetic-- a bold, big-boned, luscious, comic dancer, elastic in her morphing from Broadway to hiphop to bharatanatyam to a modern-dance windy tangle of moves. The world is her oyster--and she invites us in.
Anyway, you only have until tonight, Saturday, to catch it. At the Chocolate Factory Theater, 5-49 49th Ave., Long Island City, Queens. Visit Dtw.org for details.
One prong of the "At Large" project--the show is only one aspect --is a lovely pocket-sized booklet that we all get a copy of when we attend the show. A whole bunch of dancers and choreographers respond to questions with potentially no end to answers, such as "Why do you dance?" "Why do you make dances?" "Why do you go to see dance?"
The answers get less interesting as they go. Almost everyone has something striking to say about why they dance. For example: "I dance because I started dancing when I was three and it's become a condition" and "Becoming a dancer was a way to give a body to my life, because I was very ghostly." Fewer people get much out of watching other people dance. Most regard it as a professional obligation. Here's a wry example: "[B]eing in the field for a long time, it's very rare but sometimes dance performances, the performers, the dances, can....touch me." Hee hee. I also love this response: "I'm looking for a complexity I understand, not a complexity that I feel I should understand and don't." Down with guilt-inducing obscurantism!
Speaking of which and otherwise apropos of nothing, here are a couple of sentences from the eminently grouchy cultural critic Theodor Adorno. The book is his turgid yet intriguing Aesthetic Theory. It has been lying around my apartment for a long while, and I have finally assigned myself a couple of sentences a day. Each sentence is its own puzzle--with the one preceding and following not helping much. As for these two from page 6, I know what he means...
The basic levels of experience that motivate art are related to those of the world from which they recoil. The unsolved antagonism of reality returns in artworks as problems of form. [Emphasis added.]
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