Then and Now

Came across this photo on Facebook this week;

This year’s Twin Cities Dance Community photo. It really is kind of neat to see so many walks of dance together. I think it is important to keep an eye on the then because it feeds into the

Now, I am in Boulder, and checking out a new dance scene. Last week, I attended a show at a small space in Denver called ‘The Laundry.’ I am under the impression that the building is an old, converted laundromat. There are several other organizations in the building, including a yoga studio and what looks like a design studio. The theater was an awesome little black box that can be arranged however one desires, and had a Red Eye feel with more organized, friendly staff. I’d love to do a show there some time 🙂  The show itself was by affiliate faculty member Kim Olson, a long-time Steven Petronio dancer who has really delved into improvisation. While fully-improvised shows are not my normal cup of tea, it really was interesting to watch the performers work, and to observe their chemistry together.

Another now: THIS weekend, Kris and I checked out the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Company’s re-staging of ‘Southland,’ one of seminal American dance ethnographer Katherine Dunham’s long-lost works. The show was premiered in Chile in 1951, and was never allowed to be shown on American soil, due to it’s content regarding slavery and lynching . . . until now. The company received a huge NEA Masterworks Grant to re-stage the production for the first time, 51 years later. Pretty exciting. Here is a write-up from the Denver Post.

I have to say that it is difficult to suss out clear reactions from a re-staging of something with so much age. If the organization staging the work is trying to be true to it’s original version, the stagecraft elements can look antiquated, which like it or not, I believe gets in the way of our perception. I was surprised at how short the work was, and how stark the two halves were against one another. There was a lot of room for potential in that starkness that I do not think materialized. That said, I DO think that the tackling of difficult subjects in a stage format should be commended regardless. This is a difficult thing to respond to in public writing because my thoughts that the production was an important happening cloud my willingness to pull apart the piece from a compositional standpoint.

One thing is for sure . . . I’m enjoying the ways my then is feeding into my now.

 

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