the intangible

“This temporary blend of blood and dust was put together only to dissolve.”

Before all of these ideas leave my head, here’s what’s gone on at The Pillow since we’ve last caught up…

Gauthier Dance

All the way from Stuttgart, Germany, this company of international dancers came together to create physical, infectious energy in the Ted Shawn Theater. Though the program got a bit of criticism for not including female choreography, what appeared on that stage was a blend of artistry from both creator and mover. Two became a very tall, fantasy-like one in Floating Flowers, and the nuances of a relationship were unpackaged and examined with tender clarity in Johann Inger’s Now and Now. My inner theater geek was satisfied at the cheeky Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White, and even more impressed at the intricate platform-like forms the duo made for one another to hoist onto and be seen from. Before intermission, we saw a larger group piece CONRAZONCORAZON by Cayetano Soto. Athleticism, wit, and militaristic vibes all combined to create this detailed world of Soto’s that dabbled in movement qualities I’ve never been exposed to as a viewer. A solid end to the first act. Our night with Gauthier finished out with Cantata – the song and dance that clearly put us in a time and place. Amber lighting and the exposed wood of the theatre as a backdrop told me something visually about where these dancers were. What struck me the most was the singing from both the dancers and singers… and perhaps how content and happy they seemed not only in performance, but all week long.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

“Wowee Kazowee” as my mom would have most definitely commented. In my opinion, Hubbard Street and its dancers are some of the cream of the crop in this day and age for dance. Works by Crystal Pite (more on her later), William Forsythe, Alejandro Cerrudo, and Robyn Mineko Williams came together for another stunning program. N.N.N.N. and Solo Echo stood out to me by far – the former being a cause and effect machine of sorts, complete with dancer sound effects and some comedic timing, and the latter one of the most beautiful visual spectacles I’ve seen live. Throughout the entirety of the Pite work, white “snow” fell onto the upstage panel. After a while of watching the expressive reverberations of movement from the ensemble, the falling pieces began to appear as flecks of light, and if my eyes relaxed even more, I felt like I was floating through outer space. I’m completely serious when I tell you that the falling snow started to emulate a vast expanse of sky and stars. As each dancer slipped from the hands of the person behind them and exited the stage, we were left with one man, solo, lying motionless amidst the constant flow of falling substance from the sky. Stunning.

Inside/Out

  1. Dances for One – A flamenco dancer and a traditional Indian dancer, each very different, both unmoving in their sense of self and sense of character. I appreciated the percussive nature of both of their performances, and the clear direction and strength exuded in entirely different ways.
  2. Calpulli Mexican Dance Company – Traditional Mexican Folklorico from a company based in New York City. Everything from the most indigenous of Aztec ritual dances, to the more contemporary Mariachi performances of today. Elaborate costumes, instruments, headdresses and live music made this one of the largest productions we’ve had on Inside/Out this season to date.
  3. Christopher Ruud & The Stars of Ballet West – Unfortunately, due to the “rain plan” being enacted, I couldn’t see this performance, only its dress rehearsal. From what I saw, the Salt Lake City-based movers were talented masters in the craft.
  4. DanceTheYard – from The Yard on Martha’s Vineyard. All administrators that come together as artists to create work as a company during the Festival season (side note: I am extremely impressed that they have the time, the energy, and the dedication to do this during a crazy festival season. Holy Cow). More on this experience later…
  5. Kevin Jenkins – A Boston Ballet School Faculty member and ballet choreographer. He brought his work from various parts of the country together for this occasion. Unfortunately the “rain plan” prevented my attendance at the full performance as well, but the dress rehearsal was enough to tell me this man’s Contemporary background has deeply influenced his work as a creator of Ballets.

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Master Classes

  • Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards – I miss tap. Dormeshia’s class reminded me how much this form of movement and rhythm making can set one’s soul on fire. I witnessed it in her performance, and I experienced it in her class. Afterwords, she stopped me to ask if I’ve tapped before, ensuring me that I should keep going with it. What a wonderful woman she is.
  • Kevin Jenkins – An hour-long ballet barre, with the permission to essentially color outside the lines of our ballet training, and allow our own selves to shine through.
  • Community Class – We have these every week, but something incredible about them that’s been sticking with me… Fridays, Modern with Adam Weinert. Learning some of the solos that Ted Shawn created here at the Pillow and warming up using his exercises from the 1930s. Walking on hallowed ground. Dancing the stuff of his movement legacy. Pretty special.

Extras

  • Emcee Lex – My first experience both introducing and conducting the Q&A for an Inside/Out performance of DanceTheYard. Shaky hands, nervous tummy, yet somehow made it through without any stumbles. As it turns out, when you’re talking about something that you’re passionate about, it’s just easy. I mentally projected thank you’s to my musical theater training, my public speaking opportunities on the exec board in my sorority, and my ability to mature into a not-as-shy, calm lady.
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Photo by Christopher Duggan
  • Pillow Talk – Today, Anne Hutchinson Guest talking about her experiences at The Pillow in the 1930’s. For a woman that’s been on this earth for almost 100 years, I was struck by her wit, her detailed recall of seventy-year-old memories, and her honesty.

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  • Dinner with Kitty Clark – getting time with the woman who introduced me to Modern Dance at age six, in this place of such dance history. She attended a program at The School when she was 25. Being here with her felt like it made sense.
  • The Cape – for the first time. Visiting Barnstable County and Long Beach, walking the calm sea shore, discovering the “Wishing Tree” of conch shells. Ice cream. Lobster Rolls at Baxter’s. An altogether sunny experience.
  • Dark Matters – Crystal Pite’s masterpiece first performed here at the Pillow in 2012. I had the distinct honor of watching it in the Archives last night and was completely and utterly blown away by her genius. A careful examination of life, of our fleeting place in it, of shadows, of reliance on others, of the folds in our body, of creation, of destruction. She spoke to the idea that dance as an art form is important because of its ephemeral nature. The intangibility. If you don’t know, NOW YA KNOW… dancers everywhere need to be exposed to Crystal Pite and Kidd Pivot.

“This temporary blend of blood and dust was put together only to dissolve…”

So while we’re here, let’s do something meaningful. I hope to. I hope I already am.

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