|Maki Namekawa on piano. Photo: Susan Yung|
The Glass Etudes at Kaatsbaan Celebrating Philip Glass’s 85th Birthday offered two ways to experience the composer’s music—played live by a solo pianist, and accompanied by commissioned dances by five choreographers. The Kaatsbaan event, co-presented by Pomegranate Arts and performed on the outdoor stage, smartly programmed five sections with all different artists. Each featured three etudes; two for solo piano (the bread), and one with dance (the meat). It made for a fast-moving two hours, with the sun a natural clock, dropping dramatically behind the cloud-enshrouded Catskills.
The program also showed that Glass’s work is amenable to tap dance, a pairing I’ve never seen before. Leonardo Sandoval choreographed a dance for himself and three tappers to Etude #13, toying with syncopation, counterpoint, and marking time. The four assumed geometric formations, moving in a roundabout or spinning on their own axes, and elicited the rushing feel of Glass’s music. Pianist Noé Kains played as bookends Etudes #1 and #2, drawing out emotional arcs by varying volume and dynamic.
|Chanon Judson. Photo: Bess Greenberg|
|Barns at Kaatsbaan designed by Stanford White. Photo: Susan Yung|