Aspen Santa Fe Ballet 20th Anniversary Souvenir Program
Dance talk notes: the Joyce
"Pushing the Boundaries"
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. Now more than twenty years old. In the lives of some institutions, this is still an upstart. In the dance world, to have made it this long, this far, and especially, this well, is a significant accomplishment. To put the work of this company into perspective, it is useful to consider the audacity it takes to found a ballet company. Or better yet, what does it mean to form a dance company of any kind at all?
The Ickey Shuffle and the Dirty Bird: African American Improvisational Dance in the Endzone
One of the most important lessons that Saarinen took away from his experience with butoh is a sense of respect for his own history. He quotes his teacher, Kazuo Ohno, one of the foremost butoh practitioners as saying, “I am dancing on top of my ancestors.” This respect for tradition and personal history manifests not just in Saarinen’s dancing, but also in his choreography. After his expeditions into other dance traditions, Saarinen returned to Finland and founded Tero Saarinen Company in 1996.
“To move is to stir”: Romeo and Juliet in Contemporary Ballet
In the year 2000, the National Football League (NFL) mandated that there could be no excessive celebration. This mandate established policies that restricted celebratory dances in the endzone or displays of bragging on the field. The NFL believed that such displays are time wasting and inflammatory. I argue that endzone dances extend a tradition of African American improvisational dance practices. Swaggering and non-verbal bragging are inherent in the form of endzone dancing, similar to the posturing that happened in early days of breaking and continues in hip-hop dance today. Just as the innovative solo tap or hip-hop performer works to have a unique style and series of movements, the endzone dance is unique to each player.
PillowNotes: Chunky Move
In this essay, I explore two contemporary ballet productions of Romeo and Juliet, Clug’s Radio and Juliet (2005) and Joëlle Bouvier’s Romeo and Juliet (2009). I argue that contemporary ballet versions of Romeo and Juliet both allude to and elude the conventions of classical ballet: narratively, choreographically, and in the dancing itself. Certainly, part of the success of contemporary dance versions lies in the sheer number of traditionally danced Romeo and Juliets, as well as the audience’s familiarity with the Shakespearean play. An analysis of the dances themselves demonstrates the mediation of textual elements by the dancing bodies and addresses the ways in which meaning can be made through choreographed action.
Over the course of an evening with Chunky Move’s performance of Tense Dave, we come to understand a lot about Dave and perhaps even a little more about the things that not only bring Dave to the point of crisis but some of the intrigues and realities that fray our own nerves and whisper for our attention. The title of the work does not suggest a night of concert dance of a familiar style or story; this is not Tense Albrecht or Conflicted Siegfried. It’s Dave, and Dave may be just like us.