Thursday, April 30, 2015

Impressions of Mark Morris Dance Group.

Mark Morris Dance Group at BAM. Photo by Elaine Mayson London. 

Spring has sprung — if not in the city at large, then at BAM where the Mark Morris Dance Group took the stage for a five-day run showcasing seven works. On the B program, spring arrives in the form of sunshiny gaiety (“Crosswalk”), a turbulent thunderstorm between lovers (“Jenn and Spencer”), and Morris' interpretation of “Rite of Spring” (“Spring, Spring, Spring”).

Morris is lauded for being a musical choreographer (he also conducts), which means that, often, sound and movement wrap so tightly around each other to become indistinguishable. Live music (a must for Morris) accompanies each piece, and while the ensembles are tiny — two duos comprised of members from the MMDG Music Ensemble and the Bad Plus, a jazz trio known for putting
funky spins on classics — the players tease pathos and playfulness from each note.

The three pieces, while varying in tenor and inspiration, act as a demonstration for Morris' choreographic ethos. In...

To read the balance of my review, please visit The Dance Enthusiast.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Preview of Jamal Jackson Dance Company's "The People Vs."

Jamal Jackson Dance Company. Photo by Jonathan Hokklo.

It was the trial of the century. 20 years later, the images are still burned into our collective conscience: the white Bronco in a low speed chase, Johnnie Cochran's quote-worthy remarks (“if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit”), Kato Kaelin’s long, blond locks and rambling testimony explaining what, exactly, happened that fateful night. For months, the nation was gripped by the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman — murders that former football luminary and well-known media personality O.J. Simpson was ultimately arrested for and charged with.

In Jamal Jackson's new work "The People Vs.," he poses the question: Was justice served? Using a lively brew of text, movement, music, and imagery, he aims to craft a work that reexamines the O.J. Simpson trial from a fresh angle and discover what relevancy can be drawn from it. Jackson elaborates, "Before 9/11, this was the defining moment for my generation. I remember where I was when the verdict came in." The trial’s impact on America was exacerbated by the three-ring news circus, which anticipated the media saturation now surrounding hot-button events and our current fascination with celebrities. Jackson emphasizes, "It was reality TV before there was reality TV."

The O.J. Simpson trial burst onto the scene...

To read the balance of my preview of Jamal Jackson Dance Company's "The People Vs.," please visit The Dance Enthusiast.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Impressions of Rashaun Mitchell's "Light Years"

Rashaun Mitchell's "Light Years" at New York Live Arts. Photo by Ian Douglas, featuring Melissa Toogood and Cori Kresge. 

Whether you are here, there, or somewhere else entirely, you take your past self with your present self as you contemplate your future self. Our very persons act as archives, our brains and bodies in dialogue with our history. As a result, the present is shaped as much by a past that can’t be rewritten as by a future that remains tantalizingly blank.

In Rashaun Mitchell’s “Light Years,” which received its premiere at New York Live Arts, he conceives of the human body as a vessel for both instinct, the kind born out of a thousand former experiences, and reinvention, the type that springs from wild potentiality. Using a quartet of incandescent dancers, Mitchell plots out individual solos that crisscross seemingly by chance. These intersections, through the communion of the performers, soon become laden with meaning.

The piece opens with... 

To read the balance of my review, please visit The Dance Enthusiast.