Whoops, I thought the Tech Fast was last Friday — hence the post. Then I discovered it was this coming week, Nov 10-11, with supper/discussion on the 11th. Then I discovered I had oodles of things I’d forgotten to do, and this blog fell by the wayside.
Last Thursday-Friday, instead of being filled with Tech Fast merriment, was filled with Luna Negra festivities. Luna Negra is a contemporary dance company based in Chicago whose mission is to provide a platform for Latino choreographers. The company has three branches: Luna Negra to produce mainstream, large-audience works; Luna Nueva to present more avant-guard works; and Luna Ninos to show works specially created for children.
On Thursday, the artistic director of the company, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, gave a master class to the senior and Level 4 dance majors at Butler University. He showed us the class the company takes twice a week, his own creation of contemporary movement vocabulary coupled with music ranging from Beyoncé to what sounded like a German dance party. It was great fun.
Thursday evening, I attended a discussion with Mr. Sansano and the dancers of Luna Negra facilitated by Dance Kaleidoscope’s artistic director, David Hochoy. Friday night was the performance itself, with a pre-performance talk with Mr. Sansano and member of the Turtle Island Quartet (which performed the music to the second piece live, onstage) Mark Summer. The facilitators of this talk were the Department of Dance’s Derek Reid and the School of Music’s Richard Auldon Clark.
The show itself was wonderfully danced, with the choreography of the first and third pieces and the music of the second piece being especially well-received. If you have the chance, you should definitely try to see Luna Negra and/or the Turtle Island Quartet live!
The Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall, known around campus as “Ducky,” hosts smaller-setting lectures and music performances. It’s part of Robertson Hall, but it has a separate entrance. The acoustics are awesome, though the stage is a bit small. While you won’t find any dance performances in here, last year I went to Joe Goode‘s lecture and video presentation.
Inside the recital hall
Recent events I’ve attended in Ducky:
1. Jordan Jazz. A presentation of vocal jazz pieces by the student group Jordan Jazz. It’s so, so hard to pick, but this might have been my favorite of all of them, just because I love to watch one girl, whom I know is in the ballroom club, dance on the side as she sings.
2. Abbey and Eli’s junior recital. I know Abbey through the Butler Catholic Community, and Eli is a friend of hers. I’ve heard both play in the jazz combos at Starbucks, so it was nice to hear them play some different, more classical pieces. Abbey plays the horn, and Eli the bass. Both were excellent! I liked Abbey’s first two movements of Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 3 in particular.
3. The Jamey Aebersold Quartet. As the jazzers say, “These cats can jam!” Well, maybe they don’t say that. Regardless, I very much enjoyed the Jamey Aebersold Quartet. The men were all great performers, with the exchanged looks on stage as amusing as the musical jokes they played. (Most of these went over my head, although I did catch a phrase of “Joy to the World.”) They offered a master class before the concert, too.
And those were the recent Ducky adventures I’ve had.
Joffrey Ballet Chicago performed to a refreshingly full house at Clowes Memorial Hall this past Saturday night. The review here does not quite do the show justice. Dance majors taking Dance History II had to write a review of the performance, and I feel like the conversations we had about the pieces on the program more closely examined the program than the review I found online.
Before the performance, however, the artistic director gave a master class on Friday afternoon. Since I am in the Level 4 ballet class this semester, I was lucky enough to take class from Mr. Ashley Wheater. His class was challenging but fun. I was particularly taken with his porte de bras–all very logical, without requiring a conscious effort to remember odd pathways.
He stressed stability stemming from the supporting leg’s rotation. We believed him: His turnout and technique showed though he demonstrated in street clothes and tennis shoes. Graceful, articulate, and clever, Mr. Wheater left a good impression.
The company presented the romantic Jerome Robbins ballet In the Night, Balanchine’s Tarentella, Gerald Arpino’s Round of Angels, and Edwaard Liang’s Age of Innocence. We dancers disagreed (some of us bitterly) over several aspects of the last piece. Art wars. As long as people still get upset over differing viewpoints of choreography, I feel like the arts are in good shape. You can see an exceprt from Liang’s piece below:
Did you see the show? Did you like the last piece? Maybe if I talk to some of my friends, they would allow me to quote part of their reviews. I’d like to lay out the different viewpoints side by side.