ADF: Bill T. Jones’ Obscure Finish

The American Dance Festival closed its 84th season and celebratory 40th year in Durham with the final installment of Bill T. Jones and collaborators’ Analogy: A Trilogy on July 30 in the Durham Performing Arts Center. The two previous segments were performed, individually, on the two previous nights, so that at last we could see the whole shape of Jones’ idea.

Or not.

Analogy/Ambros: The Emigrant was one of the most obscure pieces of performance art I’ve ever seen. Even though its structure was similar to that of the previous segments, especially the first, Dora: Tramontane, and even though there was a thread of connection to the second, Lance: Pretty AKA the Escape Artist, formed by a common reference to legs that no longer work, Ambros remained baffling throughout.

The text (which has a dominant role here) comes from a section of W.G. Sebald’s book, The Emigrants, and much of it is very fine. But divorced from its larger literary context, the story bits (back and forth in time) barely made sense, let alone a point.

Bjorn Amelan’s decor, with dancer-moved panels in frequent re-arrangement, echoed that of Dora–but the panels here just seemed mainly to point up how little real action there was. And the transitions between bits were awfully slow.

Yes, I’m really going to say it: I nodded off a couple of times during the piece.

The music, by composed by Nick Hallett, and performed by him and Emily Manzo, was the best part of the evening. Mixing recorded tracks with live sound, it was often very beautiful, rich in tone and texture, with clear themes and all the emotions and emotional arcs that were missing otherwise.

One loves Bill T. for being an cool-headed intellectual who draws analogies, but this piece was so cold as to be DOA…rather a let-down for the season closer. But what a great thing it is for the ADF, and the assorted funders who helped support the making of this work, to give artists not only a place to succeed in their efforts, but a soft place to land when they fail.

The major universities in the area will be presenting a fair amount of dance during the 2017-18 season, so dance junkies will make it through until summer again. But if you are fretting, know that we are already at T minus 10 months and counting for ADF 2018.

04_Ambros_PaulBGoode

The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company in Analogy/Ambros: The Emigrant. Photo: Paul B. Goode.

Advertisements

One response

  1. Unless you and I dozed off at the same time, thereby missing the moments that would have enlivened this boring work, I am in complete agreement with your critique.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Bamboo Wind

An Evening of Dance, Sculpture & Photography

mhdekm

A topnotch WordPress.com site

peter harris, tapestryweaver

TAPestry And DESIgn

Gilbert and Sullivan's "Thespis" & "Trial by Jury" -- Director's Blog

a countdown to the next performance, October 12-15, 2017

Backstrap Weaving

My weaving , my indigenous teachers, my inspiration, tutorials and more........

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Not At Home In It

collections/connections

inkled pink

warp, weave, be happy!

warpologynotufos

Projects finished or in process by the Warpology studio

Peggy Osterkamp's Weaving Blog

"Weaving should be fun!"

SHUTTLE WORKS STUDIO

Studio Life of a Weaver, Spinner, Dyer

This Day in North Carolina History

The people and places of the Tar Heel state day by day.

Linda Frye Burnham

Laissez les bons temps rouler

Art Menius

Roots Music, Culture, and Social Change

Mae Mai

Boldly going where no cellist has gone before...

The Upstager

All the world's an upstage.

Literary Life in Italy

Looking at Italy through literature

The Five Points Star

Cultural criticism, news, schmooze and blues radiating from Durham, NC

%d bloggers like this: