Mimesis/Repetition

March 7th, “Age and Beauty Part 1: Mid-Career Artist/Suicide Note”

Choreographed by Miguel Gutierrez

I didn’t know much about this show going in except for the email from ConterPulse warning me of strong odors during the show, including fingernail polish.  I was kind of disappointed that fingernail polish was the only strong odor.  Gutierrez gave his program notes live in which he mentioned that the piece had 3 titles (note: this is similar what Keith Hennessy did for “Bear/Skin“; a trend I like).  I have to disagree Gutierrez.  I think there is only one title, but it is juicy one especially if you feel like geeking out on his use of a colon and backslash.  He also mentioned some dance theory, which I appreciated because I am a geek about that too. But I think he was right, you didn’t need to know the theory in order to get something out of the performance.

The piece began with two men – one in a women’s pink bathing suit, stocky build – the other a skinny white boy dressed in baggy white workout clothes.  They danced the same movement for about 15 minutes to Silvio Ecomo & Chuckie.  It was oddly superb.  There was nothing to focus on except the juxtaposition between these two different bodies.  It could’ve been longer; I wanted it to be longer.  In fact, this section of the dance is the only part that really stuck with me (yes, even more than when Miguel’s face was in Mickey’s balls).  It might be due to the fact that I found the later part of the piece a little too self-indulgent.  So I choose to stay connected to what resonated.  I appreciated the commitment to that level of technical repetition and how it directed my attention toward the sameness and difference of these two (moving) bodies.  How could it be that a skinny white boy moved “the same” as a chunky latino?  What does this say about bodies and how we see them?  Why don’t we see sameness in difference?  I enjoyed being led to these questions and would be keen for more.

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January 30th, “the why ask why we dance dance”

Presented by Scott Wells & Dancers

“mimesis is how we dance”

The embodiment of word play.

Artful partnering.

A game of telephone.

But what really got me was hearing the word mimesis – this was a dance about mimesis and the play that is often a result of that kind of copying/repetition.   It was a thoughtful delight/a reflection on the beauty of dance to keep us repeating differently.

January 25th, “Bear/Skin”

Choreographed by Keith Hennessy

“It’s ok to sit in front”

I didn’t know that Hennessy’s previous show included urinating on the stage. So, we sat in front.  On cushions.  I sat next to Guillermo Gómez-Peña; it seemed the place to be.

The best part of this dance was the speech at the beginning.  The rest was oddly interesting as a study on The Rite of Spring and the act/action of sacrifice.  It was at times strikingly personal and at other times strangely unrefined.  Space blankets!  I didn’t “get” the piece in its totality, but I don’t think that was the point.  I was happy to be left with questions:

Why do we keep returning to the The Rite of Spring ? Sacrifice? The unknown (and hence a filling in or creating in).   Why do we want to fill in the gaps?  What does it matter to recover a lost dance?  What does this kind of repetition say about dance, culture, history?