Thursday, January 26, 2006

Toes, ankles, knees, and DANCING!

So, when I got home tonight, I stubbed my toe so badly that it took a half inch layer of skin off of my toe. And I am thrilled about the blood, because I finally get to use one of my Christmas presents. My Sushi Band-aids! Although advertised, my box did not come with a free toy. Sad. Surprisingly enough, considering my natural clumsiness, it took a whole month and two days for an opportunity for me to use them.

And speaking of opportunities... Please do not miss "Dance in Concert" at BYU Jan. 26-28 featuring "Esplanade" by Paul Taylor. Performed by Dancers' Company. (Don't you love my smooth transition there?)

"This year's "Dance in Concert," by the Brigham Young University Dancers' Company will feature "Esplanade" by world-renowned choreographer Paul Taylor Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 26-28, at 7:30 p.m. in the de Jong Concert Hall of the Harris Fine Arts Center. A matinee performance will be presented Saturday, Jan. 28, 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 or $8 with a student ID. To purchase tickets, call the Fine Arts Ticket Office at (801) 422-4322 or visit

Performed to music by Bach, "Esplanade" has been heralded as one of the 20th century's pivotal dance works. It premiered in 1975.(BYU Press Release)

I saw this concert tonight. I was moved to tears. Perhaps by the dance, or the music, or perhaps because the male lead (Bryan Madsen, my former home teacher) is performing after he tore his ACL, which should render him un-danceable, and "world-renowned, and French knighted, choreographer Paul Taylor" refused to let anyone in Utah take over the lead. Sir Taylor had someone from his company in NYC flown to Provo to replace Bryan, when he had been informed of the injury. The replacement promptly sprained his own ankle, and doesn't want to further injure himself, as it being the begininng of his dance season, so our local Bryan, with the disintegrating ACL, performed tonight, and probably will on Saturday as well. (But keep the facts about the injuries on the down-low, I'm not sure if Bryan is sharing them with everyone.)

After watching "Esplanade", I was disappointed, at first, and kind of annoyed that the choreographer would be so snotty to think that "no-one in Utah" could replace Bryan, I mean, I do think Bryan is very good and everything... but after seeing the other pieces that were performed. Wow! They just really were not in the same realm as the "Esplanade." The athleticism necessary to perform the piece really isn't obvious, until it is placed side-by-side another piece. And then, it was just magic. I wish that they had saved the piece for last so I would have appreciated to it's fullest while it was being performed. But, I also understand the necessity of placing it first so the dancers could apply full energy to it.

Here is more information about the piece. (Really, I just can't express how good it was!)
"Considered the modern dance equivalent of a Da Vinci painting, "Esplanade" is a physically demanding piece made entirely from nondance movement. Created in 1975 and set to the music of J.S. Bach, "Esplanade" earned Taylor accolades from critics as one of the greatest choreographers ever.

Taylor's inspiration came after watching a girl run to catch a bus.

There aren't any "dance" movements in the composition, which focuses on everyday motion, York said.

"He wanted to make a beautiful dance from pedestrian movement -- walking, running, falling down, natural gestures, human postures," said York, who danced with the Taylor Company from 1973 to 1985. "He clearly succeeded in his goal and "Esplanade" has become the signature work of the Taylor Company."

Because the work is monumental to modern dance, the Taylor Company is extremely selective about who performs it, Phillips said.

Training with York for 90 hours was one of the company's performance requirements, made possible by a BYU Mentoring Grant.

"It is an experience of a lifetime to be doing it," Phillips said. "It is really a masterpiece of the 20th century..." Even though "Esplanade" is based on natural actions, it isn't a quick study. Each of the work's five movements focus on different physical gestures. In the first movement, dancers are walking and skipping but by the fifth movement, they are sliding around and jumping into the air. The aerobic exertion is a challenge for dancers, whose feet were raw and bleeding after a few rehearsals, Phillips said.BYU dancers receive intensive training for signature Paul Taylor composition, Daily Herald
Bryan is the curly haired boy in back For the concert, six numbers were performed, and two were very good, one was amazing, three were 'eh. And by 'eh I mean cheesy and flat. I don't like cheesy modern dance, and flat performances of cheesy work, make it all the worse. I prefer my modern dance dark, edgy, melancholy, and full of angst, to make me cry! not yawn! But, it was worth sitting through the 'eh for the amazing and the very good.

Go, go, go, please go. I can't promise that you will be able to see the dancer perform flawlessly with an ACL injury, but you might see the New York dancer with the sprained ankle instead, and he will probably do just as well. Although, I have a personal preference for my friend Bryan.

Oh, when I am reincarnated, I am going to be a modern dancer. Someone needs to talk to Budda about that for me.


Meleny said...

Me thinkith, if I can pull one of those moves in the picture, then my boyfriend would like me even more ;). I saw a play once about jack and the bean stalk, and it was so emotional even though it was a kiddies book ::cough::. I think thats the key to fine work :). I wish I could go on account I live in NYC, but id be busy all week :(. Maybe when im reincarnated Ill be a empress of something. (pyramid..hint hint ) ;)

Th. said...


Will the pancake-bunny be there?

edgy killer bunny said...

Damn it. I forgot that they were doing this this week. I remember reading about it back in August and deciding I wanted to go. But now I don't have time. Damn it damn it damn it.

Absent-minded Secretary said...

Meleny: I am sure in NYC you can find something just as good (probably better) to go see. ;) And kiddie plays always make me cry.

Th: There was a piece where the dancers held mattresses on their heads called "Do Not Remove Under Penality of Law."

Edgy: Sorry, I almost emailed you to remind you... but remembered that you were busy. I did hear a rumor that they are performing "Esplanade" in SLC early next month. I will try to find out details.

LL said...

You like your dance full of angst? Well, I guess that's your choice, but I have always prefered my dance filled with false spontaneity. Like in musicals. Actually, movie musicals are better because you can see the faces of the dancers as they one by one are drawn into the group expression of outrage/delight/curiosity/fear via dance. It's great. The acme of the art form. I'm totally getting distracted thinking about it right now and wondering why there has never been a musical number about a bunny with a pancake on its head. That'd be something we all would enjoy. Maybe it already exists. It must. Probably something with Doris Day- except she's holding a bunny (encouraging the viewer to embrace a belief in Miss Day's girlish innocence, which makes me wonder what she was trying to hide) and wearing an outrageous hat that looks something like a pancake. But with little blue pom poms.

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