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Rita Kohn
Performance Reviews
Modern/Contemporary
Ruth N. Halls Theatre - Indiana University
United States
Indiana
Bloomington, IN
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Contemporary Masters - Featuring the work of modern dance icons David Parsons, Bella Lewitzky and Donald McKayle, with works by Indiana University Faculty

by Rita Kohn
January 15, 2011
Ruth N. Halls Theatre - Indiana University
1211 East 7th Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
812-855-1103
5 stars
Indiana University Dance Theatre, produced by the IU Departments of Kinesiology and Theatre and Drama
Ruth N. Halls Theatre, Bloomington, IN, Jan. 14-15

This review was originally published in NUVO Newsweekly, Indianapolis, IN.

Rita Kohn is a member of the Board of the Dance Critics Association.
David Parsons' mesmerizing Caught, in its 30th year of performance garnered a standing ovation in an all-around sterling program presenting three premiers and eight other recreations dated 1980-1996. "Light" in a spectrum of manifestations permeated the evening, beginning with Parsons' pre-concert talk where he touched on his choreography twinned with lighting. "Light is the most fantastic thing; when it is removed the effect is startling." Caught has grown with stroboscopic technology and a virtuoso dancer whose lightness in landing from a rapid succession of leaps is as much a wonder as the illusion of flying. Parsons Dance soloist Miguel Quinones amazes. Yet the setting of Parsons' intricate choreography on student dancers equally results in delight. It's not merely Parsons' intent "To make something you never forget." It's clearly Parsons' personal inner glow shining through his work that transforms dancers at any level, and this translated into a transformative experience for the audience with the split-second tandem timing Hand Dance [2003] and the jubilant Nascimento Novo [2006].

Sense of community was the second underlying theme of this program, brought to the fore by Bella Lewitzky's Suite Satie [1980]. The brilliance of Lewitzky's flowing, glowing movement requires athleticism and dancers working with each other. Her use of space, starting with a lone dancer and adding on to make a company of five interrelating on constantly changing levels flowed into the three premieres: Gilgulim, created by Selene Carter with dancers, showed evolution of time across space through continuous turnings — movement and costume from skirt to shawl to head covering to protective tent, to comforting enveloping. George Pinney's Oil made a powerful social, economic, political statement through shape-changing struggles to stay alive. Iris Rosa's No Me Abandones bares the soul of people in endless Diaspora, seeking stability in displacement. With Rainbow Etude Donald McKayle gave voice to male prisoners on chain gangs, longing freedom despite mind numbing banality. With Coming to Light [2006] Elizabeth Shea probes the essence of Native American legends surrounding Spider Woman. Utilizing techniques of scenography to make visible what our current society fails to see, the dance spins from a source of being into and out of the web, ensnaring for greater purposes. All together, the powerful messages signaled that attention must be paid: we cannot abandon seeking ways to heal our chaotic world, honing a sense of humor to fill our hearts with joy, utilizing light for wonderment and with open hearts.

For more information about this program log on:
http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/14447.html
http://indianapublicmedia.org/arts/contemporary-masters/
http://bellalewitzky.blogspot.com/2010/12/my-lewitzky-experience.html
Dancer: Jamie Dowd. Shea's 'Coming to Light' comments on the state of contemporary society through the Native American Legend of Spider Woman.

Dancer: Jamie Dowd.
Shea's "Coming to Light" comments on the state of contemporary society through the Native American Legend of Spider Woman.

Photo © & courtesy of Tom Stio


Senior Dance Major Kristine Jones performs in David Parsons' 'Nascimento Novo'.

Senior Dance Major Kristine Jones performs in David Parsons' "Nascimento Novo".

Photo © & courtesy of Jeremy Hogan


IU Senior Dance Major Laura Hunter and IU Dance Faculty Member Justin Zuschlag perform in Bella Lewitzky's 'Suite Satie'. The reconstruction of this work was supported by the NEA, American Masterpieces.

IU Senior Dance Major Laura Hunter and IU Dance Faculty Member Justin Zuschlag perform in Bella Lewitzky's "Suite Satie". The reconstruction of this work was supported by the NEA, American Masterpieces.

Photo © & courtesy of Jeremy Hogan

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