April 23rd, “Berkeley Dance Project”

Choreography by many

CONTEXT: I had never been to a Berkeley student dance concert before.  Why this time?  A good friend (someone that I do not often go out to see such things with) suggested we go so I said yes.  I also knew one of the choreographers (Jo Kreiter) and am always interested to see works being redone (Flag by Ann Carlson).  My Dad was visiting with his girlfriend so I brought them with me.

RESPONSE: The dancers were strong and the pieces well-rehearsed.  This is the second time I’ve seen Joe Kreiter’s work in the theater and it had the same impact (that I wish she would stick to site-specific work).  The program notes set-up the piece, When to Let Go,  to be politically engaged/engaging by citing journalist Chris Hedges about the state of income inequality, which he called “the disease of empire.”  I didn’t feel or sense this message/question.  It was technically interesting, but for me that technique didn’t fit or produce the work’s intended message.  It’s fun to watch artful swinging, but it didn’t say much.  Falling Square was boring and too long.  It had some moments that resonated with its stated inspiration of the Free Speech Movement, but it didn’t hold up.  I’m pretty sure my Dad fell asleep (granted he was jet lagged, but still).  Flag was energetic and conceptually interesting – I was engaged and entertained. I was different and I appreciated how it was trying to convey.  The program notes were lacking in any meaningful orientation about the dance.  Perhaps that was intentional?

The blog had some great information that would of been helpful before not after the piece.  Perhaps it was the audience’s responsibility to seek out this information online rather than provide it on site (i.e. I like program notes).

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