Saturday, May 30, 2020

Oh, hi

Paul Taylor Dance Company in 22 Rooms
Hello again, it's been awhile!

You can probably guess what I've been doing... same as you, most likely, holing up except for a daily walk, eating, and watching tv and videos, while trying to stay alive. So far, so good.

Of course I miss live performances, but the dance world is resilient and inventive, and has begun migrating online to YouTube and Zoom. Of particular note are works created online, rather than prerecorded videos of actual theater performances. 

Paul Taylor Dance Company has an accruing suite of short dances called 22 Rooms. They're choreographed by Larry Keigwin, who distinguishes himself in whatever he does, and works well with the confines of isolating and iPhones. He somehow manages to create intimacy and community even as the screen is chopped into cubes.
Jamar Roberts in Cooped

Mark Morris Dance Group livestreamed Dance On!, an evening of chat and short Zoom pieces that felt more performance/visual art based than dancey. Morris' choreography is so space-eating, with emotions usually expressed with the full body, but close-ups of faces imparted more mime and acting. Another treat shared by MMDG is a slate of online classes to stream, some featuring choreography by Morris for works such as L'Allegro and Pepperland.

Guggenheim's Works & Process has labeled its online collection as WPA, meaning Works & Process Artists, while evoking the spirit rousing federal project of the 20th century. The pieces are short, digestible and wide-ranging. Jamar Roberts' Cooped is as much artwork as dance, and captures not only the feeling of being trapped, but of being a top dancer in prime condition, unable to fully share his skill and passion.

No doubt there are many more online commissions, but I've also been relishing New York City Ballet's "digital spring season," smartly planned to mirror what would've been their six-week Koch Theater run. Their current post is a highlight reel of recent 21st-century works, completely worth watching to catch you up on the company's buzz-worthy recent seasons, with unmissable clips of Taylor Stanley in Kyle Abraham's The Runaway, and Robbie Fairchild and Justin Peck in the latter's The Times Are Racing. It's only up through June 1 (I think), so watch soon!

And despite feeling distanced from all these amazing dancers, the use of Zoom gives us close-up glimpses of their faces as well as their abodes. In a sense, we get to know them better. Plus, so many cats!