Hope Mohr

May 30th, “Stay” and “Material of Attention”

Choreography by Hope Mohr 

I have never met her, but I love Hope Mohr

I think we could talk for hours about dance, movement, rhetoric even.  I very much enjoyed the show and her dancers. Although her work is abstract, it still speaks, articulates, thinks.  The program notes clearly reflect this attention/direction. The key, as it seems from the outside looking in, are dancers that can speak, articulate, and think with movement while holding performative space and doing performative practice.  I think I did what the program notes asked me to do – to  “stay inside [my] own subjective experience of these dances,” which is not easy to do, but easier with the right kind of dance and mood).

PS: went to Sandra Chin’s Professional Level ballet class and met James Graham, one of the dancers in the show.  We both ducked out during a complicated petite allegro, and had a great conversation about the making of the dances (and wearing that awesome skirt).  During our brief chat he reminded me that I am a dancer (even if I no longer get on stage) and that made me smile. 

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April 3rd, “Antigonick”

Written by  Anne Carson  and Co-directed by Mark Jackson & Hope Mohr 

A friend of mine commented that she didn’t like this production of Antigone. She said as a story it left her cold; she didn’t really care about anyone.  Honestly, I hadn’t thought about that.  My interest in Greek tragedy, especially Antigone, has a history (Chapter 2 of my dissertation was about the Greek tragic chorus).  Hence, I am always interested to see how rhetoric gets treated in Antigone – how do the public/private, justice/law, man/god, individual/communal binaries get drawn – how much does the power of speech matter – how does the chorus move (rhetorically).  As such, I don’t need to care about anyone.   Antigonick doesn’t shy away from rhetoric even if it doesn’t “do it all.”  Not all the elements are in this production (a common fate of modern productions of Antigone, at least the one’s I’ve seen). But it didn’t bother me. Perhaps I was distracted by the dancing or the use of plastic and dirt.  Maybe it was the literal moving of a dead corpse throughout the play or the humor displayed by the messenger/guard.  There was a high level artistry in this production.  Antigonick reminds us that tragedy does matter (it can still teach).  Because we keep repeating their lessons, the Greeks are never that far away from us even if their tragedies appear differently.   I might try and see this again before it closes, and that doesn’t happen very much.

PS. I know this isn’t a dance, but there was a lot of dancing and I just couldn’t help but write about this.