Ann Arbor Summer Festival Dance Gallery/Peter Sparling and Co.POWER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN
“Ann Arbor” redirects here. For other uses, see Ann Arbor (disambiguation).
Ann Arbor is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the county seat of Washtenaw County. JULY 12, 1997 REVIEWED BY SUSAN ISAACS
Space journeys are news again, and that's what That's What is one of the more idiosyncratic releases by solo steel-string guitar artist Leo Kottke. It is distinctive in it's jazzy nature and "talking" songs ("Buzzby" and "Husbandry"). Peter Sparling spar·ling
1. The common European smelt (Osperus eperlanus).
2. A young or immature herring.
[Middle English sperlinge, from Old French esperlinge, , director of Dance Gallery/Peter Sparling & Co., offered in an Ann Arbor Summer Festival program that led from the dance universe's center to its choreographic edges.
In Berliner Mass, set to Arvo Part's austerely beautiful score, Sparling evokes despair and hope through eloquent solos and ensembles that recall the sorrowing dignity and bold design of Doris Humphrey and Jose Limon dances. The message, at work's end, when ten community dancers join the company's nine, is of caring and kindness; the dancers catch, cradle, and lift each other high. Yet this is the weakest section in this otherwise strong, well-danced work--cliched, not uplifting.
One can hardly level the same charge against Sparling's experimental Seven Enigmas, a stunning celebration of humans' desire to comprehend and savor the cosmic surround. Company members star in the seven solos that are Enigmas' core, but the work is truly multimedia, the outcome of an "Enigmas Project" that involved faculty from the University of Michigan (body, education) University of Michigan - A large cosmopolitan university in the Midwest USA. Over 50000 students are enrolled at the University of Michigan's three campuses. The students come from 50 states and over 100 foreign countries. , where Sparling also teaches. Daniel Roumain, a doctoral student in composition, made the score, and visual artist Jim Cogswell integrated the work of UM scientists Fred Bookstein and John Clarke into his set design.
Occasionally, Enigmas' choreographic material underwhelms, insignificant beside all the technical gee-gosh wizardry wiz·ard·ry
n. pl. wiz·ard·ries
1. The art, skill, or practice of a wizard; sorcery.
a. A power or effect that appears magical by its capacity to transform: (like humans in the universe?), but its explorations of inner and outer space are fascinating. Courtesy of Bookstein, Clarke, and Cogswell, the stage reads as space-age scientific laboratory. A constellation of hemp hemp, common name for a tall annual herb (Cannabis sativa) of the family Cannabinaceae, native to Asia but now widespread because of its formerly large-scale cultivation for the bast fiber (also called hemp) and for the drugs it yields. monkey-knots hangs above; giant screens project images from the Hubble space telescope Hubble Space Telescope (HST), the first large optical orbiting observatory. Built from 1978 to 1990 at a cost of $1.5 billion, the HST (named for astronomer E. P. Hubble) was expected to provide the clearest view yet obtained of the universe. or fabulous morphing ghost-grids of the dancers' movements; a battery of video monitors flashes domino dots. The dancers inspect the equipment in hooded white lab coats, mitts, and booties. But it's friendly sci-fi--the costumes also suggest a troupe of Paddington Bears. And Roumain's electronic score is humanized with melody and snippets of conventional harmony.
The playful atmosphere persists in Lisa Catrett-Belrose's jester solo and in John Gutoskeys costuming here and at work's end, when Julianne O'Brien Pedersen emerges like Space Barbie, in silver lights and a glittering black dress with a slit.
But there's mystery too, most affectingly in Gayle Bailey's long, centrally placed solo, where she strides, arms up-stretched, like a goddess summoning celestial powers, with William Crowley as her male counterpart in the solo that follows. That both she and Crowley seem to share their magic with us makes this universe ultimately reassuring.