Post-modern fracas

heronScott Heron (prostrate on floor) with Hijack’s Arwen Wilder (left) and Kristin Van Loon in “Smithsoniansmith.” William P. Starr photo courtesy Scott Heron.

Copyright 2010, 2017 Gus Solomons jr

NEW YORK — Some art defies explanation and some doesn’t require any. Scott Heron, a notable New York performance artist, who now calls New Orleans home, and Hijack (Kristin Van Loon and Arwen Wilder), a couple of post-modern movers and shakers from Minneapolis, met in Russia in 2002 and made a short dance, titled “3 minutes of Pork and Shoving.” The trio’s latest collaboration, “Smithsoniansmith,” the result of eight years of “many trips up and down the Mississippi River” –presented July 29-31 and August 5-7 at Dixon Place’s spacious new digs — seems like a compilation of these collaborative efforts. The hour-long collage opens with the above dance; a subtly stirring pile of denim clothing holds one side of the space (with Wilder hidden inside) and opposite, Van Loon seasons and marinates Heron, who’s naked, lying on a table — pants around his knees, keeping his nuts and berries covered with baseball mitts, and sporting a glove on one foot — and puts him on a spit like a pig for roasting, as stage smoke billows from an offstage “barbecue pit.”

To get the rest of the article, first published on August 10, 2010, subscribers please contact publisher Paul Ben-Itzak at paulbenitzak@gmail.com. Not a subscriber? Subscribe to the Dance Insider for just $29.95/year ($99 for institutions gets full access for all your teachers, students, dance company members, etc.) and receive full access to our Dance Insider Archive of 2,000 exclusive reviews by 150 leading dance critics of performances on five continents from 1998 through 2015. Just designate your PayPal payment in that amount to paulbenitzak@gmail.com , or write us at that address to find out about payment by check. You can also purchase a complete copy of the Archives for just $49 (individuals) or $99 (institutions) Contact Paul at paulbenitzak@gmail.com .

Word up!: Macron names renowned publisher new French culture minister

PARIS — From a minister of culture during the precedent administration who famously admitted that she didn’t have time to read books, newly inaugurated president Emmanuel Macron and his freshly-minted prime minister Edouard Philippe, both famous readers and promoters of literature, today took a major step in recuperating the image of a portfolio for years honored by Andre Malraux by naming as the country’s minister of culture and communications Françoise Nyssen, long-time director of Arles-based Actes Sud, one of the crème de la crème of French publishers. Together with Macron’s campaign promise to increase library hours at night and on the week-ends, and Philippe’s record as mayor of Havre in sending bookmobiles around the coastal city, the appointment of Nyssen, who also founded a school focused on listening to the child after the suicide of one of her own children, augurs well.

Taking it higher: Dance Ed

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The DI, Year 1: Ripening Repetition– David Grenke Generates Detailed Dance

By Susan Yung
Copyright 2000, 2017 Susan Yung

NEW YORK — Well-crafted dance is difficult to imagine, but it’s one of those things that you know when you see it. As seen Friday at Pace University in the program of his Thingsezisee’m Dance/Theater, David Grenke crafts high-quality dance with parts that fit together perfectly. There are no indecisive filler steps, no confusion about where the gaze should be, no seams, and presumably plenty of rehearsal. Grenke’s phrases are taut, hermetic gems that withstand, and in fact ripen, with enduring repetition. A gesture’s impetus is often clearly diagrammed. The diaphragm fills with a puff of air whose ensuing breath starts a chain of tiny movements that travel from the center, up the spine, through the shoulder, and out the fingertips. In “Chasing His Tail – Volume II,” a premiere, Grenke’s shirtless torso could be a kinesiology textbook, clearly demonstrating the sound logic of his movement vocabulary. The smallest impulse is magnified tenfold and the quiet nature of this piece allows a similar magnification of emotion. The result is a contemplative, intense study of restrained physical and psychological power.

To get the rest of the article, first published on January 8, 2000, subscribers please contact publisher Paul Ben-Itzak at paulbenitzak@gmail.com. Not a subscriber? Subscribe to the Dance Insider for just $29.95/year ($99 for institutions gets full access for all your teachers, students, dance company members, etc.) and receive full access to our Dance Insider Archive of 2,000 exclusive reviews by 150 leading dance critics of performances on five continents from 1999 through 2015. Just designate your PayPal payment in that amount to paulbenitzak@gmail.com , or write us at that address to find out about payment by check or in Euros. You can also purchase a complete copy of the Archives for just $49 (individuals) or $99 (institutions) Contact Paul at paulbenitzak@gmail.com .

Sponsor Ads Available for DI Paris coverage

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The DI, Pre-history: A course in miracles — The Miraculous Mandarin, RIP

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 1999, 2000, 2017 Paul Ben-Itzak

(Author’s Note: When this review was initially sent out via e-mail on October 22, 1999, I wrote that Needcompany’s production of Grace Ellen Barkey’s version of Bela Bartok’s “Miraculous Mandarin” was “a true, one-time only, never to be repeated in this lifetime gift to the audience.” My observation proved prophetic; several months later, the Bartok estate prohibited the piece from ever being performed again and Barkey’s ‘Mandarin’ died a second death.)

NEW YORK — Shortly before the world premiere of Grace Ellen Barkey’s production of Bela Bartok’s “Miraculous Mandarin” at P.S. 122 Thursday night, P.S. executive producer Mark Russell hailed me. “It’s either going to stink or it’s going to rock,” he said — well, maybe it was me that said it, but Russell concurred. The thought that it might stink was not uttered with dread but anticipation. Stinker or rocker, Russell was excited to be giving something new to his audience and New York — new even to him.

To get the rest of the article, first sent out to the DI’s e-mail list on October 22, 1999, subscribers please contact publisher Paul Ben-Itzak at paulbenitzak@gmail.com. Not a subscriber? Subscribe to the Dance Insider for just $29.95/year ($99 for institutions gets full access for all your teachers, students, dance company members, etc.) and receive full access to our Dance Insider Archive of 2,000 exclusive reviews by 150 leading dance critics of performances on five continents from 1999 through 2015. Just designate your PayPal payment in that amount to paulbenitzak@gmail.com , or write us at that address to find out about payment by check or in Euros. You can also purchase a complete copy of the Archives for just $49 (individuals) or $99 (institutions) Contact Paul at paulbenitzak@gmail.com .