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

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
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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