Visiting Philadelphia to see the exquisite Dancing Around the Bride exhibit brought into focus not only the rich possibilities of artistic interactions, but also the ways that DC suffers from a lack of informed writing about current ideas in dance and performance.
The day after my Philadelphia trip I read Sarah Kaufman’s article about the film Anna Karenina. Ignoring for a moment her didactic tone--the way she situates herself as a critic who advises companies and choreographers on how to behave and create—I was struck by her confusion about current dance-makers. She describes the film’s choreographer, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, as an “experimental choreographer.” She cites his use of arms and hands in the film’s ball scene as unique and innovative. If she were familiar with his 2005 performance with Akram Khan called zero degrees, she would know that this vocabulary--viewable in the first 30 seconds of this excerpt--is part of an aesthetic approach he has honed for years.
Does Kaufman use “experimental” to imply he is working on the fringes, using new or different ideas? If this is the case, she exposes how unaware she is of current trends in dance and its interdisciplinary influences.