Posts Tagged ‘Abrons Art Center’

Let’s Dance: Alwin Nikolais 2010: From the Horse’s Mouth

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Welcome to my section of the Campus Clipper blog: all of my posts will have the title Let’s Dance because that’s the title of my own blog that I’ll be keeping up with after this publication is done. Yes, it is a reference to David Bowie: but it’s appropriate, because I’ll be giving advice on dance performances as well as other arts and entertainment opportunities throughout the city. To start off, here’s some information on a performance I just saw!

On April 30, 2010 at the Abrons Arts Center, there was a performance celebrating the life and work of famous modern choreographer and teacher Alwin Nikolais.

According to the program,

“From The Horse’s Mouth is structured so that only four people are on stage at one time. Sitting in a chair center stage, each performer tells a brief story relevant to their past or current involvement with dance, then performs his/her own movement phrase – first in place then traveling through space, sometimes improvising with another dancer. A chance element is introduced by picking a card from a box. The card suggests how to vary the phrase. These sections are juxtaposed with stage crossings with the performers appearing in full costume. Some costumes depict a favorite dance; others represent a costume they have always wanted to wear.”

Overall, the night was intriguing to someone who has studied Nikolais technique for a year while in college – although those not familiar with his improvisational ideas and emphasis on space, time, motion, and shape may not understand some of the jokes or movement on stage.

Still, even those not familiar with Nikolais and his approach to dance were sure to have a few laughs. You did not need to know the importance of Murray Louis or the company history to appreciate many of the stories told. Several of the former (and still practicing) dancers were eccentric characters – especially Beverly Blossom, who made the audience erupt in laughter incessantly.

These experimental dance performances are a great treat – not everyone has the patience to sit through an evening-length ballet, but an event such as this often incorporates humor and movement that even a non-dancer can find amusing.

The piece also related directly back to the theater – the Abrons Arts Center was once under the direction of Nikolais, and many of the recollections were of learning and performing in the very space the audience was sitting in. It was a charming, old space. I had never been in the theater before, but it was full of character, comfortable, and seems to have a varied line-up set for the coming weeks.

To reach the Abrons Arts Center, take a bus or the F train to Delancey Street. It is a relatively short walk over to 466 Grand Street – and tickets for the events can either be bought online or at the door. Leave some spare time to get lost if you’re not familiar with the non-gridded downtown streets: I myself ran a few minutes behind schedule after taking a quick detour down a wrong street!

-Meghan Q

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