Gigs, dance, art

November 10th, 2010: Merce Cunningham – Roaratorio

@théatre de la ville

I could only have a ticket for one of the two programs of the Merce Cunningham company, but the choice was easy: I just love Cage’s Roaratorio. That turned out to be a mixed blessing, though. First, I was seated on a side and quite close to the stage, which meant the sound wasn’t that good and I missed a lot of the soundtrack. Second, the music was so good that it was distracting and I sometimes had caught myself not focusing enough on the dance.

On the other hand, I liked the way the dance matched the music. Not following it, but there were similar ideas sometimes. For instance there were hints of Irish folk dance, but more like bits mixed in with something else, like the music had bits and phrases of Irish music weaving in and out of the dense collage.

I liked the dance itself more than usual. It was less abstract and less obviously technical than the later works, and yet just unmistakably his, and not just because of the familiar tilts here and there. I also thought it was less consistent than usual, and I think that’s a good thing. I mean it featured not just different speeds, but also very different kinds of movements. And there was a sequence with pairs where the dancers looked far more human than usual. What I mean is that is the more recent pieces the technique and virtuosity would take over and when combined with the geometry of the choreography, it gave an abstract and unreal feel. This time the dance was still technically demanding, and they are no less skilled at it, but it was less obvious, and there were moments when the strain was less dominating. The timing look every bit as precise, but without the sharp angles I enjoyed it more.

I also liked that dancers would sometimes just stand or sit in the back instead of leaving the stage. That also echoed that the dancers had been stretching and warming up in street clothes on stage as we filed in. Both put the dance within a context instead of an aloof ideal. Which I think was also a good match for the music.


November 19, 2010 - Posted by | Music | ,

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