Wandering Man

Steven LaBrie, the baritone in Jessica Lang’s The Wanderer. Photo by ulieta Cervantes
Steven LaBrie, the baritone in Jessica Lang’s The Wanderer. Photo by ulieta Cervantes

Last week, the choreographer Jessica Lang presented her new, fully-staged version of Shubert’s song-cycle Die Schöne Müllerin at BAM’s intimate Fishman Space. In it, she takes on the the lyricism of Schubert and  the poetry of Wilhelm Müller and gives it physical form. Her eight dancers fill the roles of protagonist, miller’s daughter, huntsman, and, more intriguingly, of the forces of nature and the brook in which the protagonist eventually drowns himself. Lang made a valiant effort; her approach is sensitive, well-informed, and consistently engaging. But the two languages—dance and son—only occasionally spoke to each other with eloquence, bringing about something more than the sum of various parts. Here’s my review, for DanceTabs.

And a longer a piece I wrote for The Nation, on the difficulty of combining vocal music and dance.

The cast of Jessica Lang's "The Wanderer." Photo by  Julieta Cervantes
The cast of Jessica Lang’s “The Wanderer.” Photo by Julieta Cervantes

John Heginbotham Takes on Satie’s “Relâche”

 

John Heginbotham, by Julieta Cervantes, from the NY Times.
John Heginbotham, by Julieta Cervantes, from the NY Times.

The former Mark Morris dancer John Heginbotham, presents his first evening-length work Dark Theater, at BAM’s Fishman Space Oct. 29-Nov. 2. Here’s a little q&a about the new piece, which is set to music by Satie, including a section of his final work, the ballet Relâche, and piano pieces.

And here, just for fun, is the film from Satie’s 1924 ballet:

Ojai Dispatch No. 2

Jenn Weddel and Spencer Ramirez in "Jenn and Spencer" at Ojai. Photo by Timothy Norris.
Jenn Weddel and Spencer Ramirez in “Jenn and Spencer” at Ojai. Photo by Timothy Norris.

…In which the Mark Morris Dance Group steals the show…

The company performed two programs, separated by a concert for toy piano (at dusk). It was an exciting evening of dance. Here’s a link to my review, for DanceTabs.

And here is a short excerpt:

“As always, Morris’s ability to shape the sounds coming from the pit through a combined language of gesture and seemingly simple movement is a constant source of surprise and almost primal satisfaction. Why does the swishing of a hand set to a two-note figure in the strings or a carving of the air to a line of melody feel so right? Who knows.”