Archive for August, 2010

August 31, 2010

only 15 more days

by ashleyandersondances

to submit to the “learning to loveDANCEmore” performance journal

the theme for volume 1 is: this is the place
so feel free to submit any and all musings on the topic

to date we have a compilation of historical essays, personal narratives and reviews of local programming. we have submissions from ririe-woodbury guest leah cox, nyc improviser ishmael houston-jones and many a student from the university of utah.

what will we get from you?
questions or comments e-mail
seriously. do it.

August 29, 2010

review of Black/Light

by ashleyandersondances

I went into Allen Gardner Dance Theatre’s presentation of Black/Light with a lot of questions. I had heard that Jerry Allen, director of the group, had studied with Kazuo Ohno and was heavily influenced by Butoh. Through the program notes, I learned that he also studied kung fu and corporeal mime, two disciplines that I have also had experience with. I read several articles previewing the show, some calling it Butoh, some calling it Butoh-influenced, some trying to explain what Butoh is. My experience with Butoh has been through Dairakudakan and Eiko + Koma. While these two groups in some ways represent opposing ends of the spectrum of whatever Butoh is, I believe there is a common seed.

Here’s what myself and some friends came up with over post-show gelato: when a child drops their ice cream, they do Butoh. We all know what this feels like. The incredible upwelling of emotion and sensation overtakes the nervous system from within, and the body becomes accessory to this outpouring of raw expression. It is overwhelming, and even casual spectators cannot help but be engulfed. One of the original goals of Butoh was to subvert other forms of dance that were seen as too superficial.

So let me rewind and say that Black/Light is not a “Butoh show”, as many people described it. It was an eclectic evening of performance, some of which was Butoh. But it also included a comedia dell’arte piece, dance, and video. So all of the questions I came in with, including “What does American Butoh look like?”, were overtaken by another question: “Can Butoh share the stage with these other forms?” The answer I came away with was a solid “No.” The rawness and depth of the Butoh elements made everything else unpalatable. This means there was some very solid Butoh happening, in particular from Patrick Barnes and of course Jerry Gardner.  But it also means that the dance was out of place, the comedia dell’arte seemed farcical, the photo collage distracting, and the silhouette work sort of boring. This wasn’t a flaw in performance. The performances were quite good, in fact. I could have watched Michael Watkiss run in circles, mouth agape and arms pathetically extended, for hours. He was a pleasure to watch throughout. It was the course of the show itself that confused.

Another aspect that was less than satisfying was the use of music. I felt that the choices of music were such that they forced some of the other creative choices, particularly the timing of certain sections. Often I felt that a moment was cut short, or that a piece was stretched too thin, because a musical cue had to be met. Please, let’s all find a composer or sound editor who can work with this group. I think it will give them the freedom to do some really excellent work.

Perhaps my Butoh beef is also ultimately about creative freedom. Jumping from one form to another is not as satisfying as abandoning form and just doing the work that feels true. I think this was a fascinating presentation, and I would love to see more work from Jerry Allen. But next time I would like to see his work, in his style. Maybe it will be Butoh, maybe it will be dance theatre, maybe it will be some sort of crazy synthesis of all that he has studied. But Black/Light felt like he forced his work to fit the styles of others, each piece a distinct element that had his creative touch but ultimately was not well integrated into the whole

-Matt Beals

Matt is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Utah.

August 29, 2010

review of Momentum

by ashleyandersondances

Click here to read a review by Emily Terndrup & Ashley Anderson

For another perspective visit this link to the deseret news review

Emily Terndrup is currently a senior BFA candidate at the University of Utah who is notably the recent recipient of a prestigious performance award given by the American College Dance Festival Association.

Ashley Anderson is a Salt Lake based choreographer who has presented her work through the SLC, Philadelphia, New York and Virginia. She is currently a guest instructor for the University of Utah MFA program. She holds her BA’s in Dance and English as well as an MFA in Dance from Hollins University.

August 27, 2010

you should

by ashleyandersondances

go see black/light at sugar space this weekend.

matt beals is going to go saturday and write one of his ever-thoughtful, thoroughly contextualized reviews. he’ll probably talk more about the performance and ask relevant questions about what american butoh means? how pieces are structured? etc. etc.

i’m not going to write any of that now. i’m just going to say that michael watkiss remains the most engaging performer i have seen in salt lake city and his range expands and deepens as he performs with new artists and groups. so go see that.

full reviews of black/light as well as ririe-woodbury’s momentum coming up over the weekend.

August 26, 2010

press for shows this weekend

by ashleyandersondances

click the links below to read preview material for black/light at sugar space and momentum at the rose. hopefully we’ll have some reviews soon to add to these ample preview materials.

August 23, 2010

shows this weekend

by ashleyandersondances

we’ll be at the allen gardner dance theater show this weekend. will you?

visit that link to see a video of a famous kabuki performer describe his work
it’s a pretty cool video.

i’ve heard the show next weekend uses elements of butoh but that it’s not totally traditional so looking forward to seeing exactly what that means.

also we’ll be momentum at rose wagner this weekend.
remember…if anyone ever wants to write their review of local shows you can submit all reviews to or just respond to the reviews we post.

August 18, 2010

reminder about performance journal

by ashleyandersondances

submissions for the performance journal should be sent in one month and two days from this very moment.

the theme for volume 1 is “this is place”
corny? maybe
accurate and totally necessary? probably

so remember to send your musings on place (whatever that means to you in relationship to modern dance) to

so far submissions include….
a beautiful essay on how finding a new city can be a crucial part of dance in the coming years

a history paper excerpt on the places dance has been considered a disturbance (namely the cabaret laws in new york)

some poetic thoughts about place and space

and a whole bunch of reviews that have happened in this place where we happen to live

what will you submit?

August 17, 2010

More on place

by Matthew Beals

“One of the biggest changes in the modern dance world has been geographic”

A shift from Manhattan to Bushwick and Brooklyn is not the most earthshaking change, although it may feel like it to New Yorkers. But to me it begs the question “Why New York at all?” Especially after yesterday’s article.

If alternative venues and self-producing is the trend, this can be done anywhere.
Is NY still the most fertile ground for dance?
How can we create opportunities for dance to take hold in other places?
What nourishes your work and does NY offer that?
What other places might have something to offer?

-Matthew Beals

August 16, 2010

wow, monday, wow.

by ashleyandersondances

do you think this is the best article ever?
or does it make you feel like you are in an episode of the twilight zone?
or somewhere in between.
seriously, what do you think?

and also if it inspires you to write about “place” remember that journal submissions are due to by the first mudson in september.

August 13, 2010

Economics of Art

by Matthew Beals

“A good economist knows the true value of the arts”

John Kay is a respected economist and writer for the Financial Times, where the above article was published recently. Thanks to Dan Schmidt for sharing this link.

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