Saturday, June 26, 2010
Onstage last night
Yesterday I was with Amanda, a thinker and dancer who has an article in today‘s Washington Post about a DC neighborhood, and writes about other topics too - like coffee and ice cream (life’s essentials). We went to see Through Their Eyes, an exhibit of photography from Haiti. Many of the images were taken by teenagers in Haiti who, after the earthquake, were given cameras and photography workshops by a non-profit group, Zanmi Lakay. Their images are stunning and I bought one of the prints when I realized all the proceeds go to relief for Haiti. Then we went to Georgetown University to see The Pull of Negative Gravity by the Welders Theatre Company which was harrowing (about a soldier coming home from Iraq) and well-done. We talked about the burgeoning scene for young theater companies and how they are finding a conducive environment in DC, then asked why isn’t the same happening for dance in DC? There seem to be so few companies presenting performances that are about exploration, research and discoveries. A lot of what I see seems to be about decorating (look how nicely this goes with the music!) or illustrating (movement used to imitate feelings and events, which tends to border on pantomime). Makes me think of a trip Amanda and I took to Philadelphia in March to see the exhibit Dance with Camera at the Institute of Contemporary Art (the film above by Joachim Koester was included). The works were idiosyncratic, sincere, thought-provoking. Given the variety of ways our bodies move, how does it happen that so much dance on stages in DC looks similar? I think there are creative choreographers in this city, but somehow their works are not given platforms to be viewed, discussed, promoted or disseminated. I wonder why not.