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Fall Dance Preview

One Critic's Picks

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Three of the most promising dance events this fall aren't likely to feature much dancey-dance. Don't look for athlete-performers, wearing spandex and leaping about to pretty classical music. Expect, instead, to be challenged and surprised. And delighted.

First up, beginning October 9, is the Japan Society's Celebration of a butoh pioneer: "Kazuo Ohno 101: 3-Week Butoh Parade." Sometimes called "the dance of darkness," this 20th century Japanese form lurches from the sublime to the grotesque through highly individualized performance styles. Ohno helped create the visceral, existential form over half a century ago, seeking to find new ways of moving. Featuring a host of diverse artists, including the wildly kinetic butoh master Akira Kasai, Yoshito Ohno (Kazuo Ohno's son) and the riveting installation artists Eiko & Koma, this festival should demonstrate why it's easier to say what butoh isn't than to try and pin down what it is.

For four days, beginning on Halloween, the John Jasperse Company is taking over BAM's Harvey Theater with "Misuse Liable to Prosecution." Jasperse has never met a theater he hasn't toyed with, and the Harvey is no different: everything on stage has been found, loaned or stolen (dancers aside, we hope), setting the tone for what should be a thoughtful exploration of the economic realities facing independent choreographers. This may sound didactic, but Jasperse's thrillingly precise, evocative movement style is anything but dry.

In 2005, the French conceptualist Jerome Bel brought "The Show Must Go On" to Dance Theater Workshop, and the only time he referenced codified dance movements, that I can recall, was when he needed to illustrate Lionel Richie's "Ballerina Girl." In "Pichet Klunchun and myself," which runs at DTW from November 7-10, he takes on traditional Thai dancing - literally, as the work traces his first meeting with the dancer Pichet Klunchen. Anyone who wants their neat definitions of dance rattled should get a ticket.

More of Claudia's Picks:

About Dance Theater Workshop
About Performa O7
About Christopher Wheeldon

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