ADF Journal: Searching for dance amid all the dance-theater | Arts
Arts
INDY Week's arts blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

ADF Journal: Searching for dance amid all the dance-theater

Posted by on Wed, Jul 22, 2015 at 9:07 AM

click to enlarge Paul Taylor Dance Company - PHOTO BY PAUL B. GOODE / COURTESY OF ADF
  • photo by Paul B. Goode / courtesy of ADF
  • Paul Taylor Dance Company
As the American Dance Festival nears its end, you feel as though you’ve been running a marathon. But when you stop to catch your breath, you realize this year’s festival has been a substantial look at the current dance scene, with few disappointments. One exception was Dynamic Duos (Reynolds Theater, July 1). Its four duets seemed too academic, and dance took a secondary role to theater—something that has been true of much of the festival.

It makes you wonder whether dance in its purest form can survive. The funkiest offering so far was Awkward Magic (June 30, Motorco Music Hall), choreographed and performed by Deborah Lohse, Gregory Dolbashian, Jordan Isadore and several other dancers. Though fun, it was basically a burlesque revue, full of splits, butt wagging, eyelash batting, gum chewing and hip thrusting at 33 rpm.

What stands out for me is when dance, in all its glory, captures center stage. Paul Taylor Dance Company (DPAC, July 2), an ADF mainstay, offered two works from the 1980s, Syzygy and Last Look, as well as one of Taylor’s best-known works from the 1970s, Esplanade. This contrast allowed the audience to gain a better understanding of the 84-year-old choreographer’s mastery of runs, falls and whirling off-balance turns, flinging bodies through space into soft landings. Also on display was Taylor’s ability to manipulate themes of joy and hardship. Hardly anything could be more uplifting than Esplanade, danced to the music of two Bach violin concertos, contrasted with Last Look, which portrays Taylor’s ideas about conflict and confusion.

Making its ADF debut was Company Wang Ramirez (Reynolds Theater, July 8). The couple mixes hip-hop and ballet with many other movement references to create a unique vocabulary of dance and gesture. Sébastien Ramirez is French but of Spanish descent, and his partner, Honji Wang, is of Korean heritage but from Germany. The U.S. premiere of their 55-minute duet, Monchichi, was a moving portrait of a relationship’s many moods.

From his crazy breakdancing to her cat-like walks, Ramirez and Wang were like a mesmerizing contemporary version of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. They used theatrical elements to enhance their choreography, but most striking was their ability to use their bodies to tell their contrapuntal story with snaking arms and intertwined legs: dance first, theater second.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Arts



Twitter Activity

Comments

Here's a shout-out to the dancers and musicians of The Bipeds who are not mentioned by name in this article. …

by The Bipeds on Dance Review: The Many Moving Parts of The Bipeds' 54 Strange Words Don't Always Perfectly Mesh. But When They Do, It's Spectacular. (Arts)

Most Recent Comments

Here's a shout-out to the dancers and musicians of The Bipeds who are not mentioned by name in this article. …

by The Bipeds on Dance Review: The Many Moving Parts of The Bipeds' 54 Strange Words Don't Always Perfectly Mesh. But When They Do, It's Spectacular. (Arts)

You probably want to refrain from using ableist language.

by vidvis on ADF Review: Pilobolus's Crowd-Pleasing Dance Is Apolitical. Unfortunately, the World It Inhabits Is Not. (Arts)

I love stories like this.

by JoeJoey on A Villain Burglarized All Three Ultimate Comics Stores Last Night (Arts)

Mr. Woods must have seen a very different production than the one I saw or perhaps he was having an …

by Amy Ginsburg on Theater Review: Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's Songs Can't Quite Shine Through a Patchy Production of Spring Awakening (Arts)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation