American Dance Festival.REVIEWED BY CATHRYN HARDING
In its nineteen years at Duke University, the American Dance Festival The American Dance Festival is a six-week summer festival of modern dance performances, and a school for dance currently held at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. has hosted everything in modern dance from the sublime to the ridiculous. This summer was no exception. Fortunately, among the bevy bevy
a flock of birds. of premieres on ADF's smaller stage there was more to praise than there was to bemoan be·moan
tr.v. be·moaned, be·moan·ing, be·moans
1. To express grief over; lament.
2. To express disapproval of or regret for; deplore: .
In Afternoon of the Fauns, one of three premieres on his program, Mark Dendy unleashed a gleeful glee·ful
Full of jubilant delight; joyful.
glee , galloping tribute to Nijinsky. Locating the ballet star's madness in his homosexuality, Dendy made a frankly erotic duet for himself and Lawrence Keigwin. Wearing designer Elizabeth Prince's furry knickers, the energetic fauns ran and ran and ran--great, wide-tripped runs in one spot--until their physical joy took on a sexual complexion. Saucy sauc·y
adj. sauc·i·er, sauc·i·est
a. Impertinent or disrespectful.
b. Impertinent in an entertaining way; impossible to repress or control.
2. and playful, spidery and grinning with naughty delight, Dendy and Keigwin celebrated the kind of freedom that could not be imagined in Nijinsky's own time.
Aria, a new solo for Li Chico-Ping, was a study in steadfast devotion. The dancer embarked on a spiritual journey that took her across the stage and eventually through a grand set of white curtains. Her unwavering physical strength a metaphor for her sureness of purpose, Li executed a series of twists, head-stands, and impossibly low penchee arabesques. It was an apt rendering of the contortions that can test even the most muscular The Most Muscular is a common bodybuilding pose, often used to highlight as much of a contestant's muscle repertoire as possible by demonstrating the maximum mass of muscle to the judging panel. faith.
Spirituality returned as a theme in Pitual, a showcase for three dozen ADF (1) (Application Development Facility) An IBM programmer-oriented mainframe application generator that runs under IMS.
(2) (Automatic Document Feeder) A paper stacker that feeds one sheet of paper at a time into the unit. students. With the entire theater as his temple, Dendy created a slow-moving frieze frieze, in architecture, the member of an entablature between the architrave and the cornice or any horizontal band used for decorative purposes. In the first type the Doric frieze alternates the metope and the triglyph; that of the other orders is plain or of white-clad novitiates that wound its way through the lobby and aisles and eventually onto the stage. It clearly was a work born out of love and respect for the theater.
Lenka Flory, a young Czech choreographer making her American debut, ited spiritual themes as well in . . .and where is Maria? a fullevening piece from 1995 accompanied by a dozen versions of NAve Maria." Setting Catholic iconography--a statue of the Madonna, votive vo·tive
1. Given or dedicated in fulfillment of a vow or pledge: a votive offering.
2. candles--againts the prosaic rolls and seated scoots of her five dancers, Flory was aiming, I think, to show the simultaneous existence of the ordinary and the divine. But her efforts were better realized a month later when she joined the International Choreographers Concert. There she premiered Live and Let live. That dance for nine was delicately spiced with happy awkwardness and finished with the remarkably gentle image of darkness falling on a stage full of flowers that, throughout the work, had been slowly descending from the rahers.
Susana Tambutti premiered Muerte Prevista en el Guion (Round Up the Usual Suspects) on the same program. Beginning with The Dying Swan and ending with the ritual sacrifice of Le Sacre du Printemps, the Argentine choreographer created an inventive and witly tableau of famous female deaths in ballet. With an unfailing command of stagecraft stage·craft
Skill in the techniques and devices of the theater.
the art or skill of producing or staging plays.
See also: Drama
Noun 1. , Tambutti exacted every possible metaphor from four movable ballet barres and some lengths of fabric. (The deathbed of the La Traviata section was particularly inspired.) While the dancing from her four performers was exciting, requiring almost gymnastic precision across those barres and a confident grasp of many movement motifs the piece would have benefited from a more lucid connective thread. I could have wished that so many commendable elements had left me with more than, "so what?"
The third ADF commissioned premiere in that concert was from Spain's Maria Rovira. Tierra de Nadie featured a cast of eleven students inhabiting what looked like a bus shelter to who-knowswhere. With a title translated as "No Man's Land," Rovira's piece alluded to many choreographers' styles. There was o nod to Robbins's West Side Story and Fosse's patented ensemble riffs. There were flamenco, machismo machismo
Exaggerated pride in masculinity, perceived as power, often coupled with a minimal sense of responsibility and disregard of consequences. In machismo there is supreme valuation of characteristics culturally associated with the masculine and a denigration of , and martial arts. To my eye, Rovira neatly charted that transitional stage when a student, having worked through other people's material, begins to become her own dancer.
Over the years ADF has done wonderful things by introducing the dance of other countries. Sadly, this year's Portuguese program did not match earlier efforts. Joao Fiadeiro offered the 1995 solo Self(ish-Portrait, whose fitting title I can only amplify by noting that midway through the long, noisy piece Fiadeiro simulated masturbation and fellatio A sexual act in which a male places his penis into the mouth of another person.
At Common Law, fellatio was considered a crime against nature. It was classified as a felony and punishable by imprisonment and/or death. with a hand-held microphone. Three works by Vera Mantero, including the recklessly sloppy Untitled (Nothing to Sell), commissioned for ADF students, shared the themes of existential dread and obsession. Repetitive without illuminating any ideas, Mantero's work induced within me a sympathetically obsessive state. "Please, God," I muttered to myself again and again, "Let this be over soon."