Tag Archives: works & process

The Music of Elliott Carter Interpreted at Works & Process at the Guggenheim

New Choreography by Emery LeCrone and Avichai Scher

In the Peter B. Lewis Theater at the Guggenheim Museum, the lovely Mary Sharp Cronson welcomed the audience and introduced the almost 103 year-old composer Elliott Carter who provided five pieces of music for new choreographic commissions by Emery LeCrone and Avichai Scher.

Both LeCrone and Scher are trained ballet dancers who used ballet dancers in their works. The vocabulary of the dance was mainly ballet but both had the occasional stray from that tradition, making for some not-so-fitting moments. The music was by no means easy to choreograph to. There was no distinct rhythm and no direct feeling that could have been distinguished from the pieces together as a whole.

The title of LeCrone’s piece, With Thoughtful Lightness, fit well with her work. It was pensive, the partnering was even-keeled yet engaging, and it used transitions well. Throughout the piece, however, I was hoping that there would be more energy and more attention to the music’s quirkiness. Dancer, Gabrielle Lamb, shined in her role, a seasoned technician with an elegant softness.

Scher’s piece, It Makes Me Nervous, was a different beast. It was action-packed with eight dancers coming on-and-off stage, utilizing the small stage well. There were leaps and turns and kicks and lunges. It was dynamic and conscious of the music. There was room for refinement with this work including the theme of the spyglass and the random eighties jazz moves that crept in. That said, I could not keep my eyes off of Lia Cirio.

It was interesting – and quite true – when moderator Leigh Witchel said that ballet dancers learn the steps and then internalize the movement and create meaning then whereas modern dancers won’t even take a step until you tell them why. I think for ballet choreographers, it can be difficult for them to find their voice within the ballet vocabulary if the music isn’t speaking to them.

All in all, I think the commissions by Works & Process program at the Guggenheim are always worth seeing, especially being able to hear the choreographers talk about their work.


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The Watermill Quintet at Works & Process at the Guggenheim

Watermill Quintet

Charles Fabius, Derrick Ryan Claude Mitchell, Robert Wilson, and Carlos Soto

Last night I went to the Guggenheim to see Works & Process at the Guggenheim present The Watermill Quintet: Robert Wilson Curates New Performances from the Watermill Center.

I had the pleasure of meeting Watermill Director, Jorn Weisbrodt and Rufus Wainwright outside before I joined the long line of people waiting to enter the Peter B. Lewis Theater. As the audience entered the theater, the piece, Veneration #1: The Young Heir Takes Posession of the Master’s Effects by Andrew Ondrejcak with music by Michael Galasso was already underway. On stage, Andrew was running on a treadmill in front of a two-way mirror – we could see him but he could only see himself – inspired by the runner’s father’s death and how the body weakens and eventually fails.

Next up was a video interlude followed by The Dorothy K.: Shorter Are The Prayers in Bed, but More Heartfelt an excerpt of the larger work Dorothy K written and directed by Derrick Ryan Claude Mitchell. This piece had the dirt and discomfort generally associated with the group Implied Violence and included the use of text, repetition, and exposed theatrical cues.

As I sat through (the “I am misunderstood, please love me”) MY HEART’S IN MY HAND, AND MY HAND IS PIERCED, AND MY HAND’S IN THE BAG, AND THE BAG IS SHUT, AND MY HEART IS CAUGHT directed by Carlos Soto and (the extremely long and ironically titled) MOMENT – a duet for one choreographed and performed by Marianna Kavallieratos and Thanassis Akokkalidis, I tried to figure out what Robert Wilson’s curatorial take on work created at Watermill was and how New York audiences would perceive the work.

The program states, “Watermill Quintet is an expression of the belief of The Watermill Center to support a next generation of artists. Watermill Quintet is not a homogenous evening or an evening of Wilson Disciples, but shows the differences of artistic performative approaches of young artists.”

Following the performance, Robert Wilson (aka Bob) answered questions moderated by Charles Fabius, producer of Works & Process at the Guggenheim (and former Executive Director of the Watermill Center). Bob said he first approached the Watermill Quintet (which was actually 6 directors and 4 pieces – not 5 directors and 5 pieces as the title “quintet” would suggest) by asking how much time the performance would run. From there he chose his directors and gave them the freedom to make works with the suggestion that they use music by Bob’s late friend, Michael Galasso. He then worked with the artists the week prior to the performance to do lighting design and general direction. With regards to the pieces as a whole, Bob discussed how the Watermill Center is not a school for the Wilson technique but a space for young artists to create freely.

All in all, I love seeing work presented by Works & Process at the Guggenheim and it was great to see Watermill in New York.

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