Two weeks ago I attended MADCO’s fall presentation, an ambitious program with three world premieres. I thought each work challenged the dancers to move in a specific way and they met the challenge. However, I was not taken by any of the works specifically. Much too often their works fall in the trap of having everyone dancing all the time which does not allow for dramatic continuity and aside from costuming them differently, they start looking alike. I thought James Robey’s work had interesting tensions that should be explored further, though the use of a central character seemed to create certain expectations that were not totally resolved. Two other works founded up the program. One was a repeat of “Land’s Edge,” a PILOBOLUS work that was gifted to them as part of New Dance Horizons II. It was the strongest of all the works and it was great to see the dancers perform it at a higher level of intensity as well as a better physical and intellectual understanding than they had in October. The repeating of works is vital for their growth and the dancers’ development, but we often tend to simply move on and create more new works for the sake of newness.
This past weekend I attended the Ovation Series that Charlie Robin manages at the Edison Theatre on the campus of Washington University. He brought a marvelous group of 13 men from Argentina performing in “Che Malambo.” The show was approximately 90 minutes of high power machismo, foot stopping, bolas flying and sheer fun entertainment that had the audience cheering their approval. The 13 men of various physical stature that presented a harmonious evening of stylized Argentinean folk must have been exhausted when the show finally concluded.
What I am really fascinated by is the wealth of world class dance that people in St. Louis have at their fingers tips and seemingly do not take advantage of. In a city the size of ours, the dance performances that both the Edison Ovation Series and Dance St. Louis offer give our city an incredible showcase of the art form. For simply 8 or 9 evenings a year, you will have seen close to 36 dance events in 4 years — to be able to catch and admire that many performances, you would have had to travel the world and pay 3 times as much.
I am thrilled that what the Edison Ovation Series and Dance St. Louis do compliment each other. And do not think it happens by chance, Charlie and I do correspond and exchange plans for the future so as to do exactly that, enhance the audience going to experience dance.