Chaos Attraction

Sculpture Does Not Equal Dance

2004-04-16, 10:18 p.m.

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Tonight I went to the spring dance concert on campus.

I am normally a big fan of dance. I normally like everything. But this performance? Hated, hated, hated, hated, hated! Horrible! About the only good thing I could say about it was that they used actual semi-fat girls with actual bellies in the production (say, 60-70 percent of the girls!), which made me, Madame Lardgut, feel suddenly much better about my own dancing.

The problem was that all the pieces were way too fucking weird and artsy. I know this is strange coming from me of all people, but these works were boring, annoying, slow as snails, and frustrating most of the time.

To give you an example of the horror, the first piece in the program said it was a tribute to Rodin's sculptures. Now, I read this and thought, "Uh-oh. Sculptures do not a dance make," but I was willing to give it a shot. It was worse than I thought it could be. Literally, it was ten minutes of dancers posed on stuff, wearing fake-nude clothes and behind a sheer screen. No music, nothing. The lights didn't even go down in the theater. After the first ten, they pulled up the screen. Still almost no movement whatsoever beyond the small adjustments. After fifteen minutes, this horrible bit of Bach with shrieking violins came on. Still almost no movement. After five minutes of bad Bach, they slowly got up and walked off the stage. It wasn't even a DANCE!

Alas, the following pieces were not much better. The following themes occurred a LOT:

* dancers lying around like corpses on the stage for five minutes at a time, or lying around like corpses with one arm jiggling;

* corpse dancers being dragged around and posed like baby dolls for long periods of time;

* pieces where you could not for the life of you figure out what the point of it was;

* pieces with no or very little music (the occasional piano key ting), where the sound was supposed to be the dancers huffing, puffing, moaning, doing Lamaze breathing, or screaming. I'm a fan of John Cage, but this just... was annoying;

* almost all of the pieces that DID have music, as opposed to heavy breathing soundtracks, had 7 or 8 different songs thrown together, often with long pauses between them that pretty much halted the action of the "dancing."

The two "best" performances of the night had some discernable theme, even if one of them I'd attempt to summarize as "Ballerina lesbian chickens in a barnyard, or something." (Which I guess is appropriate for this school.) The other was a 1920's dancing-drinking-we're-passing-out-fest. They at least would have up to 30 seconds to a minute of interesting dance going on...and then everything would come to a slow fucking stop to watch darkness, or someone pretending to put on makeup very slowly, or very slow walking.

One solo piece just gave me the heebie-jeebies- it was this woman dressed like my grandma in the 50's doing a piece called "Swallow" (don't ask me why) about giving birth. Lamaze breathing and shrieking and singing while totally out of breath as the music? Awful. Awful.

It was ten dances, choreographed by various people, with two intermissions. Frankly, it took a lot for me to stay through the first intermission (after 3 dances), and I just got up and left after the second. The giving-birth lady had another solo coming up, and I couldn't stand to see it.

And to top off the night, on my way home, I saw my previous ex drive by. I flipped his car off as he drove by, and it took all of my restraint not to scream "FUCKER!" at him into the night. I probably would have had there not been shitloads of families in town for the night that I'd just walked by.


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