Monday, November 30, 2015

Review: More Mouvements fur Lachenmann

... and dance critic Merilyn Jackson.

Review: More Mouvements fur Lachenmann


By Merilyn Jackson

Aw, come on. Fess up. You know you’ve done it when nobody’s looking -- stood in front of a mirror and conducted your favorite Mahler or, at least, played air guitar.

In 2007, Xavier Le Roy turned his “conducting” of a recording of Le Sacre du Printemps into a marvelous dance performance. He’s taken this concept to another level with More Mouvements, not so much choreographing on the musicians in the piece, but allowing the music (or the score) to impel the movement, which looks more like pantomime than dance, especially when the instruments have gone missing and/or are hidden with musical doubles playing them behind screens.

Local new music group Bowerbird has pulled off the coup of bringing this piece to the Live Arts Festival this year, performed by eight musicians who include members of the Klangforum Wien. Helmut Lachenmann’s musique concrète pulls sound from each instrument's entire body; conversely, the musicians’ movements are mostly upper body.

Fingertips sensually strum the strings, arms move against each other like gears, hands bend to point downwards, recalling Nijinsky in Afternoon of a Faun. Flattened hands push the air away or saw through it. Staring contests, where the musicians put down their instruments and simply stare at us, occur in several diminishing intervals.

I first saw Le Roy 10 years ago in Warsaw performing nude in Self-Unfinished , a hilarious and absorbing miss-take of the body. Here, he hid out in a grey hoodie in te back of the theater. Altogether, he gave us a sterling performance for the eyes and ears and a good dose of changed perception, with a few surprising laughs sprinkled in.

$25-$30, 8 p.m. 9/17. Arts Bank, 601 S. Broad St.

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About this blog

Toby Zinman's night job since 2006 is theater critic for the Inquirer where she reviews New York and London as well as Philadelphia. Her day job: Prize-winning prof at UArts, author of five books about modern and contemporary drama, and doer of scholarly deeds (winner of five NEH grants, Fulbright lecturer at Tel Aviv University, visiting professor in China). She was recently named by American Theatre magazine "one of the twelve most influential critics in America."

Wendy Rosenfield has written freelance features and theater reviews for The Inquirer since 2006. She was theater critic for the Philadelphia Weekly from 1995 to 2001, after which she enjoyed a five-year baby-raising sabbatical. She serves on the board of the American Theatre Critics Association, was a participant in the Bennington Writer's Workshop, a 2008 NEA/USC Fellow in Theater and Musical Theater, and twice was guest critic for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival's Region II National Critics Institute. She received her B.A. from Bennington College and her M.L.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She also is a fiction writer, was proofreader to a swami, publications editor for the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and spends all her free time working out and driving people places. Follow her on Twitter @WendyRosenfield.

Jim Rutter has reviewed theater for The Inquirer since September, 2011. Since 2006, he covered dance, theater and opera for the Broad Street Review, and has also written for many suburban newspapers, including The Main Line Times. In 2009, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded him a Fellowship in Arts Journalism. Thames & Hudson released his updated and revised version of Ballet and Modern Dance in June, 2012. From 1998 to 2005, he taught philosophy and logic at Drexel, and then Widener University. He also coaches Olympic Weightlifting for Liberty Barbell, and has competed at the national level in that sport since 2001.

Merilyn Jackson regularly writes on dance for The Inquirer and other publications. She specializes in the arts, literature, food, travel, and Eastern European culture and politics. In 2001, she was dance critic in residence at the Festival of Contemporary Dance in Bytom, Poland; in 2005, she received an NEA Critics’ Fellowship to Duke University’s Institute for Dance Criticism. She likes to say that dance was her first love but that when she discovered writing she began to cheat on dance. Now that she writes about dance, she’s made an honest woman of herself, although she also writes poetry.

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