Sunday, March 31, 2013

BTJ/AZ—Music and Movement, Pure and Not-so-simple

Erick Montes Chavero shows good form in D-Man. Photo: Paul B. Goode
Bill T. Jones has strong opinions and isn't afraid to express them, both in his public appearances and in the works for his company and on Broadway. Sometimes this makes us forget what a good pure movement maker he can be, but Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane & Company's two-program run at the Joyce (through April 7) reminds us as it emphasizes formal work to classical music. The live performance of the Orion String Quartet is a big bonus. The run celebrates 30 years, and is titled Play and Play: An Evening of Movement and Music. Well, make that two evenings.

D-Man in the Waters (1989) was restaged after languishing for a dozen or so years. It was originally created amidst the scourge of AIDS as a tribute to one of the afflicted dancers who was doggedly battling the disease. This approach of embracing life at its fullest rings loud and clear, and by the end, I wanted to collapse in a heap alongside what must be completely exhausted, if fulfilled, dancers. To Mendelssohn's Octet for Strings in E-flat major, the dancers scissor their arms in front of their faces, and run in loops to form a self-perpetuating line. Physical virtuosity, busyness, a sense of community, heroicness, and an irrepressible lust for life are paramount. A signature of the work is a bow shaped flying jump, as if the dancer was flung, ribcage leading, from a trebuchet, embodying joy and defiance.

In D-Man, Arthur Aviles led the original company, which spawned a number of accomplished choreographers. Many made cameos in Continuous Replay (1977/1991), the epic naked-to-clothed accumulation dance to Beethoven arranged by Jerome Begin; on March 26, following Erick Montes Chavero as "The Clock" or leader, alumni included Aviles, Heidi Latsky, Larry Goldhuber, and Sean Curran. And while BTJ/AZ is, if anything, more diverse than ever, these alumni underscored how personality-driven the original company was, particularly with both Jones and Zane performing. (Aviles celebrates his 50th birthday with guest appearances in the first movement of D-Man on two dates; both he and the piece received Bessie Awards in 1989.) The program began with Spent Days Out Yonder (2000), to Mozart, which played with upstage and downstage silhouettes and horizontal crossings.
The second program featured two premieres, both interestingly with choreography credit to Jones with Associate Artistic Director Janet Wong and the company. In Ravel: Landscape or Portrait? Bjorn Amelan's set design—the edges of a cube delineated by lines and tape (evocative of Alex Katz's metal framed cube for Paul Taylor's Polaris)—felt like a house with eight occupants who formed expanding and contracting clusters. Jennifer Nugent, invaluable for her physical wisdom and inner complexity, held up fingers to count, marking some secret deadline. She vogue-tiptoed across stage, quoting D-Man. A pattern of foliage is projected on the entire front wall of the Joyce, extending the stage far beyond the proscenium, like a Sleeping Beauty set gone rogue.

Nugent cradles Leonard in Story/. Photo: Paul B. Goode
Story/ taps the anti-structure of "a random menu of movement," according to program notes, paired with Schubert's Death and the Maiden played by Orion from an upstage corner (they otherwise were seated in the "pit," such as it is.) Amelan here lays down a grid of tape to form 12 squares, which are lit selectively and precisely by Robert Wierzel. Dancers follow the leader in snaking loopy lines and big lifts (Chavero is the most frequent soarer and general instigator; Joseph Poulson, the loner here). In choreography for groups, Jones has always excelled at coaxing the gaze through space with rhythmically timed movements, and this is no exception. Parallel quartets move as if in alternate universes; a green apple mostly held by I-Ling Liu becomes a colorful focal point in a primarily grayscale world. Nugent and the large, lyrical LaMichael Leonard Jr. share a tender duet—an intricate, unspooling filament of rolling, spinning, sliding, and an odd donkey ear gesture. 

It's a dense dance, especially situated at the end of the second program—but then again, what by this company isn't, unless it's simply a shorter dance? It was a treat to see Jones' pure movement to classical music in a concentrated bloc.

Friday, March 29, 2013

What the Body Does Not Remember

Photo: Danny Willems
Ultima Vez performed a revival of Wim Vandekeybus' What the Body Does Not Remember (1989) at Pace's Schimmel Center last weekend, roughly a quarter century after it was first seen in NY at the Kitchen. It's of an era when presenters in the city were bringing many stateside-unseen European companies specializing in movement theater, evoking kinetic daring and passion.

  • Two men lie on the stripe-lit stage and flip like pancakes on a hot griddle, seemingly controlled by a woman striking a desk
  • Chalk tablets and short pillars become islands on which the dancers must stay, so they use them like skis or stepping stones, and play a high flying game of catch with them
  • Women are frisked aggressively and repeatedly in a way that blurs the line between assault and vehemence. Upsetting after a while, no doubt intentionally.
  • During rapid stage crossing, humorous pickpocket-style snatchings of towels wrapped around the body or head
  • A man posing on a chair is mirrored by another dancer; he's later joined by others to create family portrait-style tableaux that gain in complexity
  • A dancer jumps up, threatening to land on another lying down, but his/her feet split to straddle the body    
Photo: Danny Willems
There's a wild abandon to much of the movement—violent stamping of Doc Martens, sprints around the stage, body surfing, the flinging of the chalk blocks which sometimes shatter on impact. Garments are shed and replaced continuously. The dancers move from scene to scene with great energy and commitment, but without a narrative through-line, it feels somewhat exhausting by the end, rather than energizing. 

It's difficult to view a production comprising many scenes of varying tasks or movement themes without thinking of Pina Bausch. And some of the movement evokes fellow Belgian Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Vandekeybus performed with Jan Fabre, whose work shares some DNA with these dance-theater artists, but whose work is infrequently performed here. Prometheus, Fabre's last work in the metro area (at Montclair's Peak Performances in 2011), felt convincingly apocalyptic. Vandekeybus, who has been working in film in recent years, balances the kamikaze approach of his dancers with a light touch, other than the disturbing "frisk" section. And all credit to the company, and to rehearsal director Eduardo Torroja, for its precision and boldness, and to Francis Gahide for the dramatic lighting design. Thierry de May and Peter Vermeersch wrote the music. 

Let's hope this was not literally the last time here for Ultima Vez.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Notes on PTDC's 59th Season

Eran Bugge and James Samson in 3 Epitaphs. Photo: Paul B. Goode
Notes on the 2013 Taylor season, in the books, comprising 21 dances in 3 weeks at the Koch Theater, where it apparently far surpassed last year's attendance. The process of collaboration seemed more important than ever, particularly the designs of Alex Katz, lit by Jennifer Tipton.

Strongest impressions:
  • Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rehearsal): the perfect mix of styles both serious and playful; substance; and technique.
  • Lost, Found and Lost: ennui + elevator music, with a vocabulary built on boredom, to brilliant, coma-inducing effect.
  • Beloved Renegade (2008): perennially sublime, with crystalline performances by Michael Trusnovec, Laura Halzack, and Amy Young; on my Top 5 PT list.
  • 3 Epitaphs: the best Neanderthal dance ever, and casting the 2 most lyrical women (Halzack and Heather McGinley) is hilarious, alongside the quintessentially graceful James Samson, Eran Bugge, and Francisco Graciano.
  • Cascade: some simple, sublime moments of tenderness between Trusnovec and Michelle Fleet, as when their outheld arms cross. 
  • Promethean Fire: the epitome of high classicism and conveying emotion through form and minimal gesture. Parisa Kobdeh shows her noble, serious side alongside Trusnovec; Samson/Young duet is affecting when they pull powerfully against one another.
  • Scudorama: suits, fruit-hued unitards, mysterious blanket monsters, and sanctimony add up to a sort of Cold War, modern dance hyper-Americanism. Sean Mahoney's best role.
  • Last Look: if all darkness and edges, an important collaboration in the season, with major contributions by Alex Katz's disco-house-of-horrors designs. Trusnovec's otherworldly fluidity in his Jamie Rae Walker-leaping solo underscores his utter confusion.
  • Speaking in Tongues: a terrifying star turn by Trusnovec, who could easily brainwash us if he so desired.
Michael Trusnovec and Laura Halzack in Beloved Renegade. Photo: Paul B. Goode
  • Perpetual Dawn: a lovely, romantic, serious work; the Loquasto backdrop and costumes and Tipton lighting are key to the aromatic pastoral quality
  • To Make Crops Grow: another strange, memorable entry into Taylor's movement theater canon
  • Esplanade: have stronger choreographic bones ever been made?
  • Company B: easy to take for granted as it is a constant on NY stages, but perfectly captures that era in American history, and the tension between daily joys and war 
  • Junction: quirky, formal, quiet, with musical hijinks
  • Musical Offering: an in-depth study of a specific vocabulary, patterning, and musicality
  • Brandenburgs: a solid gem with the peculiar equation of 5 women, 3 men
Containing rediscovered gems:
  • The Uncommitted: remarkable invention in entrances/exits and fleeting melancholy 
  • Offenbach Overtures: another sui generis work within Taylor's oeuvre, high comedy and a distinctive visual scheme by Loquasto/Tipton. Khobdeh hilarious.
Graciano, Khobdeh, and Trusnovec fly in The Uncommitted. Photo: Paul B. Goode
The Company:
  • While there is no ranking system within the company, a good deal of emphasis is placed on tenure. "Survival of the fittest" applies here, so the longer you remain (and stay healthy), the more you are cast, and prominently. 
  • I've run out of words to praise Trusnovec, the finest interpreter of Taylor since I've been seriously watching the company. 
  • Kobdeh is daring, funny, foxy, and deeply dramatic.
  • Samson, due to his size, is often typecast, but he makes the most of these paternalistic male roles, imbuing them with a kindness and amplitude, and overturning expectations with his stealthy grace
  • On the flip side, Graciano is also typecast in many young roles (in fact, he plays Samson's son on more than one occasion), but can dazzle with verve
  • Young, a consistent, lyrical, ideal presence, assumes many of the Amazon or independent women's roles
  • McGinley not only has balletic qualities, her natural radiance consistently draws the eye
  • When Halzack first joined, it is understandable why Taylor became enamored of her lovely leg extensions; they're almost like a timestamp on his choreography (see Beloved Renegade, The Uncommitted). Her private quality give her an aloofness that is a robust tonic to many of the company's extroverts.
  • Eran Bugge, if she were in baseball, could be described as a "five tool player." (A good thing.)
  • Michael Novak has a refinement and physique that will serve him well at PTDC.
  • George Smallwood, new guy with a long resume, brings winking charm, earthiness, and Broadway chops
  • Jamie Rae Walker's adds lightness, lucidity, and precision
The season was another impressive demonstration of the depth and totality of Taylor's output, and the incredible physical and mental capabilities of his company and organization. Onto the 60th.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Katz, York, Tipton, and Taylor—Timeless Collaborators

Lost, Found and Lost. Photo: Paul B. Goode
Katz, York, Tipton, and Taylor. It's not a law firm, but they have defined some reliable rules about making good dances together. I caught some during the second week of Taylor's spring season that runs through March 24. 

Lost, Found and Lost was created in 1982, but its inspiration came from material for Events 1 of 7 New Dances originally done in 1957. What's 25 or 31 years between inspirations when you're Paul Taylor? It's an appealing concept—use non-dance movement such as poses and expressions of ennui, set to elevator music by Donald York—but can it live up to its promise? It far exceeds it, aided in no small part by Alex Katz's swanky, humorously bedazzled black unitards, mesh half-veils, and one colorful shoe for each of the 10 dancers, set crisply against a vacuum of a white, augmented by Jennifer Tipton's vanilla ice cream bath.

Apart from James Samson and Parisa Kobdeh, who are at first situated like energetic poles up and down-centerstage, the dancers stand in contraposto, weight poured into one hip which supports a propped fist. Arms fold, heads droop, posture caves. The dancers walk as if going from the kitchen to the couch, and then lie down like they're watching tv. They bumble and shuffle into a neat line, and you think, aha! He's finally getting to the structured part of the dance! But then they pivot diagonally upstage to stand not just in line but on a line, probably at the DMV from their attitude, peeling off one at a time as York's soaring Muzak medley fills the air. 
Last Look. Photo: Paul B. Goode

Katz, York, and Tipton collaborated with Taylor on another revival performed last week: Last Look, from 1985. Like Lost, Found and Lost, it's another dance that demonstrates the importance of each element. Katz created a forest of mirrors, lit in shades of gloom by Tipton. He dressed the dancers (whom we first see in a big old pile) in louche, disco era, sherbet-hued satins accessorized with rhinestone bracelets and foot jewelry. To York's frenetic score, hey shake, bounce, and careen around, not connecting despite trying. Are they celebrating, or grieving? Michael Trusnovec stares in the mirror, seemingly horrified at what he sees, yet unable to tear himself away despite trying.  

These two 80s dances capture that moment of decadence and debauchery without feeling the least bit dated. Taylor has the gift of making dances that are timeless no matter what era they're depicting. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Rashaun Mitchell's Interface

Silas Riener standing on Rashaun Mitchell. Photo: Stephanie Berger
Interface, choreographed by Rashaun Mitchell with the performers, at Baryshnikov Arts Center, Mar 14. 

Title applies to:
  • The dancers relating to one another
  • Their interior (mental) and exterior (physical)
  • Facial emoting vs. felt emotion
  • Portions of the body in different actions, like the old game of "exquisite corpse"
  • The dancers and the audience
  • Our reaction to their performance
  • The projections of spliced halves of two dancers' faces
  • The graphic b/w set panels abutting one another
  • All elements converging in that space at that time
The dance:
  • Rashaun Mitchell, Melissa Toogood, Cori Kresge, and Silas Riener all danced with Cunningham. These alumni are a uniquely talented, ready pool of superdancers now dispersing throughout myriad performances. Seize on chances to see these great artists.  
  • The dancers make various faces indicative of different emotions. Do they feel how they look?
  • Start: they stand in four corners of the white marley like boxers in a ring, shoulders skew, then limbs jut out at angles
  • They converge in the center, reaching up like children stretching
  • Mitchell is pulled in a split by the others; he runs around the perimeter and sometimes hides and watches from the edge
  • Near the end, one dancer carries two others; they alternate roles
  • Facing outward, they circle, link elbows, and rotate in a circle, making exaggerated faces
  • A remarkable site-specific work using BAC's windowed theater
Melissa Toogood's wild solo:
  • She unties her long hair, which drapes over her face most of the solo
  • Seated in a pike, she shudders violently, pulls her legs into a butterfly, and tickles her feet with her hair
  • Kicks and stomps desperately
  • The others crawl under the painted set panels almost as if to take refuge from her fury
  • Mitchell grabs her ankles and spins her, face down, in circles, faster, until only her hands are brushing the ground
The choreographer, pulled every which way. Photo: Stephanie Berger
Silas Riener's solo:
  • Folds his arms into triangles and holds them next to his head, like wings
  • Contorts his face in varying emotions
  • One leg folded into a rétiré, he rises glacially on the other (magnificent) foot, pulling himself taut vertically
  • Stepping forward and then back, he arches backward dangerously deeply
  • He pushes through splits, showing more remarkable flexibility 
Production notes:
  • The inventive site-specific visual design is by Mitchell with Fraser Taylor and Davison Scandrett (who also designed the lighting) 
  • Taylor designed the b/w silkscreen rectangular prints that  slide like barn doors alternate with exposed windows on two walls of the Gilman Space at BAC
  • Video by Nicholas O'Brien is projected on the windows: spliced faces, animated biomorphic shapes
  • Music by Thomas Arsenault, mixed live, varies from moos to rumbles to bells

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Taylor—Enduring Romance, Sacrifice, and Oddities

Michael Trusnovec and Laura Halzack in Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rehearsal). Photo: Paul B. Goode
Was it a stroke of clever programming or serendipity that paired Paul Taylor's premiere of To Make Crops Grow back-to-back with Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rehearsal) (1980) on March 8? Sacre is a wonderful example of Taylor's "archaic" style, and one of my favorites. The broad, cartoon tone and flattened shapes drape a deceptively simple veil over the serious technical and formal challenges, not to mention the melodramatic plot. The structure is a twist on the old "show within a show" ruse, involving a dance company in rehearsal, a baby-napping, a wrongly accused thief, and a crime syndicate's exploits. The three duos that form the chorus (clad in proletariat-grey leotards and head scarves), and the lead couple, are given an extended passage of utmost difficulty—the women leap onto their partners’ shoulders with a bent knee, or spring off the mens’ chests, or step onto a shoulder. The men whip the women in windmill lifts, done swiftly enough to blur their features. 

Michael Trusnovec (a detective) and Laura Halzack (the mother of the ‘napped baby) may or may not be a couple; chivalry and communion always bubble under the surface in Taylor’s work. John Rawlings' graphic sets and costumes underscore the comic book punch; two cops carry an abstracted jail cell in front of Trusnovec, who later simply snaps two of the bars off in a jailbreak. Emotions are expressed in shorthand gestures; Trusnovec rubs his thigh to express concern, Halzack presses her bageled fists to her ears in distress. A hilarious, precisely choreographed knife fight led by stooge Jamie Rae Walker results in a pile of bodies, including the sacrificial baby, which Trusnovec has already used to steady a cartwheel.

George Smallwood, Francisco Graziano, Rob Kleinendorst, and Sean Mahoney in To Make Crops Grow. Photo: Jamie Young
The answer to the putative title question of To Make Crops Grow is simple: offer up one trophy wife in the form of Parisa Khobdeh. This premiere is more theater than dance, in the manner of 2012’s House of Joy. In a twist of genres, it connects this branch of his work to some Judson concepts where anything can be dance, even moving a field of rocks into an offering pile. James Samson makes a convincing farmer dad, with Heather McGinley his wife and Walker and Francisco Graziano their kids, while a slick May/December couple (Khobdeh and Michael Apuzzo) and their daughter show up, among others. Enter Kleinendorst (Ritual Conductor) who dons a freaky feather headdress and makes everyone pick a slip of paper to designate a sacrifice for the crops in a cross between Sacre and The Hunger Games. It’s a strange work that shares Taylor DNA with dances like Big Bertha and Oh, You Kid!

It shared a program with Sacre and two other early dances that defy category: Junction (1961), which plays with tempo and plasticity, and Three Epitaphs (1956), in which a remarkable depth of expression, especially by the masked Samson, is achieved through various exaggerations of those classic steps, the slump and trudge.

Perpetual Dawn, the other season premiere, is a lush, romantic dance to music by Johann David Heinichen (1683—1729), a contemporary of JS Bach. Santo Loquasto’s earth-hued costumes evoke a country social and his set, a painted pastoral landscape, takes on remarkably different versions of dawn—blue, pink, golden—depending on James Ingalls’ sylvan, moody lighting. The vocabulary Taylor uses here is relatively balletic, lending an air of formality to the unrushed pace. A recurring motif: a dancer freezes with one bent leg extending and flicking from a slightly backtilted torso, arms angled at 90º, and steps into a bent-kneed attitude. It’s an exclamation point in a dance otherwise filled with lyrical ovals, loops, and seamless fluidity.

Amy Young and McGinley play an intriguing game of charades (anyone know what clues they were signing?), and Graziano and Eran Bugge gently spin one another on a bent leg. Trusnovec and Halzack dance a gentle, private duet that ends with them seated in pinwheels; he pulls her close in a hug. Michelle Fleet does a bit of her Esplanade pit-a-pat running, seeking perhaps Michael Novak, with whom she finally dances. The curtain closes as the silhouetted dancers lope in endless figure eights. Romance endures. It’s a lovely ending to a gracious, intoxicating dance.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Paul Taylor Dance Company—Notebook Review, March 7

James Samson, Michael Trusnovec, and Sean Mahoney in Brandenburgs. Photo: Paul B. Goode
Paul Taylor Dance Company's season is underway at the Koch Theater (through March 24). The March 7 performance featured just two dances on the program rather than the usual three, in front of a packed, whooping and whistling house.

Speaking in Tongues (1988)
  • Pentecostal preacher and his flock. Yikes!
  • Simply reading the cast list is like reading a short story. 
  • The first searing image: Michael Trusnovec (A Man of the Cloth), all in black, in silhouette, standing stock still in a doorway—omniscient, all-powerful, scrutinizing the townsfolk for strays and acolytes, which are sorted in due time. No one can convey as much through stillness as Trusnovec, not to mention his silky, weightless movement. He's like a superhero—Ironman?—who channels all the power in the universe through his gaze and body.
  • Lovely duet between James Samson (Himself, as he recollects) and Laura Halzack (His Better Half), who are well-proportioned to be partners; velvety, plush movers full of nobility and ease.
  • Amy Young (A Mother) and Jamie Rae Walker (Her Unwanted Daughter) dance several duets that read as touching, until you fully process their characters' names 
  • Fine solos by Michelle Fleet (The Daughter Grown Up) and Rob Kleinendorst (Odd Man Out).
  • The set—barn siding into which words are carved—looks terrific in the Koch.
  • One of Taylor's longest, most dramatic, stand-alone dances.

  • A perfect example of Taylor's breadth when it follows Speaking in Tongues. Are there more polar opposite works in his repertory?
  • Sheer delight in movement and arranging five men and three women in geometrically satisfying ways to Bach's perfectly classical music.
  • Michael T. is again the Sun around which all the other dancer-planets revolve. He gets to wear fancy pants—the color of faded moss, with sparkles around the waist—while the others wear regal, dark green velvet bodysuits and dresses.
  • (There are now three Michaels—Apuzzo and Novak as well—in the ranks. Clearly if your name is Michael, it increases your odds of becoming a Taylor dancer. Get on that.)
  • Parisa Kobdeh is now the go-to dancer for roles with humor, sass, and speed. In Brandenburgs, she dances several times with the men, and wags her shin at us winkingly.
  • Eran Bugge has a radiant presence that expands with each performance.
  • Amy Young, such a constant, flawless performer, has become a large part of the company's foundation.
  • George Smallwood—the newest dancer—looks like he's having a ball.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook, Martha Graham Edition

Ben Schultz and Miki Orihara in Errand
Some more bad luck on the part of Martha Graham Dance Company led to what might be a fortuitous paradigm shift. Hurricane Sandy flooded the company's new storage space at Westbeth, which in an odd twist of fate, it had just taken over from the now-defunct Cunningham company, along with the studios. The flooding ruined some sets and costumes beyond repair, or at least in time for the troupe's two-week Joyce season that just ended. So it performed Errand with replacement costumes and minimal elements—a lucite "yoke" and a stocking pulled over Ben Schultz, the Minotaur's, head). Rather than feeling bereft, the power and emotion in the movement were emphasized, particularly when danced by perennial powerhouse Miki Orihara and Schultz, who exudes authority. 

The classic ballets—Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet—like operas, are remade from era to era. Generally, the story, cast, and structure are kept, or perhaps reordered or modernized. The sets and costumes are updated, transforming it to a different period, or reframing the story as a parable. I just saw Pacific Northwest Ballet's Roméo et Juliette by Jean-Christophe Maillot, a sleek, modern interpretation that contrasts with Kenneth MacMillan version for ABT, so near to my heart , as well as Peter Martins' recent version for New York City Ballet, which is serviceable. But all of them essentially represent Shakespeare's story, even if the Maillot twists and expands the Friar's role.

Katherine Crockett and Schultz in Night Journey, with Noguchi's sets 
To my knowledge, it's rare for a work of non-ballet to be made into a new production. Paul Taylor Dance Company had Santo Loquasto design new costumes for Mercuric Tidings a few years ago. Otherwise, I can't think of another instance—can you? We seem to be so trained to hew unwaveringly to an artist's original vision or collaboration, most likely from respect for artists and their creations. Or it may be that we have a sense of history being made and we don't want to tamper with it. (We certainly don't have qualms about fiddling with Ivanov, Perrot, or Petipa, who seems to be the Shakespeare of choreographers. Is it a statute of limitations?). 

In some cases of modern dance companies, the collaborators can be as famous as the choreographers: Rauschenberg, Warhol, Donald Judd, Alex Katz, Noguchi. How could you possibly desecrate a gesamtkunstwerk by eliminating one element by a famous artist if you didn't have to? You wouldn't.

Enter Hurricane Sandy, and exit Noguchi's sculptural elements that have defined Errand into the Maze for decades. It raises the possibility of stripping the non-dance elements out of certain works, and either commissioning new ones, or reducing the work to the dance alone. Obviously if you're talking about constructions of primarily formal, abstract movement, there wouldn't be much of a departure. 

But take something like Graham's Night Journey, which relies heavily on Noguchi's designs (which incidentally caused several snafus in the performance I watched last Saturday). Remove all but the bits necessary to the drama, such as the staff, a simplified plinth, and the deadly rope, and focus on the dance. It might be a revelation and offer a renewed epiphany of Graham's choreography, which currently suffers from several layers of must. Rotate the productions so the audience can check out both versions. With no new choreography to come, this black cloud might just have revealed its silver lining.