Footage of the 2009 American Dance Festival program Past/Forward with performances of Faye Driscoll's There's So Much Mad in Me and Laura Dean's Infinity, as reconstructed by Rodger Belman. The piece Various Stages of Drowning: A Cabaret by Rosie Herrera is not shown here, but will also be performed.
Produced by Belem Destefani and Sarah Ewald.
The footage you see here is of Beloved Renegade, as rehearsed by the Paul Taylor Dance Company at the 2009 American Dance Festival. Paul Taylor established his company in 1954 in Manhattan along with five other dancers. The dance company since then has performed in 520 cities and 62 countries. Among other accomplishments, Taylor has won an Emmy award for outstanding choreographer for 1992's Paul Taylor's Speaking in Tongues.
Beloved Renegade premiered in 2008 and is inspired by the works of the great American poet Walt Whitman, and set to Francis Poulenc's Gloria. Reviewing the work in February, The New York Times' Alastair Macauley called the piece "one of the great achievements of Mr. Taylor's long career and one of the most eloquently textured feats of his singular imagination."
The company will also perform two pieces in addition to Renegade. Mercuric Tidings (1982) uses excerpts from Franz Schubert's first and second symphonies while Scudorama, an ADF-commissioned-work created in 1963, is described by the festival as a "gem most Taylor devotees haven't seen, complete with a jazzy-classical score by Clarence Jackson."
Images of Doug Elkins and Friends performing Fraülein Maria at the 2009 American Dance Festival. Commentary and production by Belem Destefani and Sarah Ewald.
Frequent Indy contributor Kate Dobbs Ariail saw the show Monday night and just published this review at cvnc.org.
Images of the world premiere of 2b by Pilobolus at the 2009 American Dance Festival. Commentary by Belem Destefani and Sarah Ewald.
A male dancer catapults himself onto a small table on center stage. He slowly moves into a handstand, then contorts himself to lay perpendicular to the stage, supported by one hand. The audience clapped and cheered. It could only be a Cirque trick.
But which Cirque?
Obviously, what comes first to mind is Cirque du Soleil. I’ve never seen Cirque du Soleil live, but I grew up devoted to it on TV. Back in Bravo’s pre-Project Runway days, they used to air a lot of Cirque du Soleil specials, thus providing one of my first introductions to what I considered avant-garde theater. However, after the movie Knocked Up associated Cirque du Soleil with a bad mushroom trip in Las Vegas, the company probably lost a little of its claim to hipness.
In the past three weeks, I’ve seen two different cirques. However, neither was a Soleil. One was a media sneak peek at an upcoming show at Durham Performing Arts Center, and one was a performance with symphony accompaniment at Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre.
The sneak peek was for a Florida-based outfit called Cirque Dreams, which has a new production it’s calling Illumination. Naturally, light is a major portion: The video consisted of glow-in-the-dark objects that resembled flags and a line drawing of stair-steps reminiscent of a page from Harold and the Purple Crayon. A character called The Director features prominently, whose main characteristic is blowing a whistle with such frequency to rival the Grandmother in The Triplets of Belleville. As much as we could glean from the film, the show is devoted to acrobatics featuring one-handed balancing acts and aerial spinning with rings and scarves.
After the video screened, three performers came onstage to entertain the audience. Two of the dancers in red hounds-tooth suits performed a pantomime involving one being controlled by the other. The third, clad in a sparkly tank top and sailor pants, balanced on a small platform and did the ever-popular one-handed handstand, gaining applause from the assembled media.
Cirque Dreams takes the stage at DPAC from Sept. 15-20. Here’s video from Illumination: