Saturday, October 21, 2006

Farewell Proscenium Arch! Cedar Lake Ballet

The tickets are green- meaning the dance company hands out large cards with mysterious instructions to roam the "installation," that are of course immediately returned by each member of the audience on entering the performance space. Everyone in the unsuspecting audience tries, at first, to position themselves advantageously or politely, depending on mood, personality and learning, but that's not the point. The dancers may say, quietly, "I need to be here", and gently move you aside from any location before it begins.

As far as i know, the performance began in front and off center, on the glass table under the video screen mounted on the ceiling, but it may just as well have started by the far walls. Anyway, it went up those walls, and in front, in suspension from bungee cord-like things, wth no reference to any surface, and up near the high ceiling and under the table. The audience took a few moments to loosen up and start wandering (and wondering)-- nobody saw everything, because it was everywhere. Everyone saw something extraordinary. It is ballet, but the strong, beautiful dancers of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet (see video by scrolling up from the MEDIA tab at this link) dance with their hair and elbows, on pointe or barefoot or in gym shoes, in pair and groups and alone. The look is something faerie, the feeling something Fellini--is this not some ruin after the fall of Rome? Sometimes one must hang up one's classical tutu-- why not on the wall? The lighting often tells you where to look, but not always-- it depends on where you happen to be. Costumes and props dance in new ways too, as does the video accompaniment. Here is a man shaking up the pannier he wears, there is a novel pas de deux going on,with dancers wearing giant mouthguards, and accompanied by Edith Piaf singing La Vie en Rose.

The performance is highly choreographed or it would be dangerous. When dancers come shooting by, they need to be somewhere at exactly that moment. On Saturday, a woman from Philadelphia told me she saw a performance in which the dance company moved through an entire house....yet I'm certain nothing I saw at Cedar Lake Studios was ever seen before. If dance is the precursor to the lyric, it came from outdoors, and need not forever be captive to the stage and all its demands and rankings.

On Friday, the kids of the Sanskriti Center gave a Bharat Natyam performance of stories from the Ramayana, which ranged from the adorable to the astonishing --when it came to
Devika Urvashi Bhise and Sonia Anjolie Trehan, who, at sixteen, are carrying much of this art forward by themselves.

It was also the weekend of the White Wave Dance Festival in DUMBO, where Young Soon Kim had arranged for eighty seven (87) dance companies from near and far to show their stuff--much of it innovative, with glimpses of sheer brilliance, but there are almost no pictures for this post, which is why I have plans for Tuesday.

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