I've been to a dance performance this evening.... in a church that's been made into a dance studio...all the pews and pulpit and etcetera removed, nothing but a wide hardwood floor, carpeted risers along the walls. It reminded me of the mosques in Egypt, how superior I find mosques to be as a space to pray in.
Praying is a compulsion with me. In Pittsburgh there is a nightclub in a former church. It is called Altar. I never went there, if I had, I probably would have prayed.
Conceptual Dance can be disspointing, but this time around, I was enchanted. Tara O'Con's coreography is great! (her piece is the one shown at the top of the post) she removes faces from the performance entirely. You develop an incredible empathy with the dancer's back muscles. the back muscles express everything a face could, and more.
The second piece of the evening was coreographed by an old friend, Enrico Wey, and it was awesome as well. Afterwards someone commented on the way he directs an ensemble of Dancers in a way that treats the "stage" as a spatial field, creates arrangements of bodies in space, but at the same time there is attenton to detail, to the exactness of the dancer's gestures...you slip from spatial awareness to emotional awareness while watching. There is also an element of narrative, character and relationship in the piece which is present, then absent, present again...Rico was saying that a lot of these come out of the fact that for the past few years he has focused so much on puppetry. I like thinking about puppetry, and I like thinking about all these different ways of thinking about people that can be a result of being a student of the arts of performance, effect, manipulation, hiding and showing, controlling and inhabiting.
Rico's piece also benefited from a funny set- a patch of astroturf and an easily dis-assembled play house representing suburbia and making that great astroturf noise beneath dancer's feet.
projections of slides of an idyllic motorboat ride, and a woman diving into a turqouise pool...with the slide projector set to automatically keep projecting, setting a clicking, whirring rhythm at times, and live acoustic guitar folk-redux semi-improv by Sam Stein. Really really good stuff always takes me by surprise.