Archive

ShareThis Page
Review: Dancers superbly realize Clark’s innovative, if somewhat repetitive, choreography | TribLIVE.com
More A&E

Review: Dancers superbly realize Clark’s innovative, if somewhat repetitive, choreography

Mark Kanny
ptrtkHTDance1103014
Michael Clark Company
The Michael Clark Company will perform at the Byham Theater, Downtown, on Nov. 1.

Pittsburgh Dance Council introduced the work of iconoclastic English choreographer Michael Clark, performed by his company, on Nov. 1 for its second show of the season.

Clark won praise for the ways he’s incorporated punk culture into his eclectic vocabulary. His choice of music reflects his love of rock, particularly ’70s rock. The audience was warned Saturday night that the music would be very loud on the second half. It was, particularly the throbbing bass, but wasn’t a problem.

The show was in two acts, beginning with “Swamp,” an early triumph for the choreographer which he created in 1986 and is set to music by English punk rock band Wire and Bruce Gilbert.

“Swamp” opens energetically, displaying Clark’s characteristic combination of classical ballet vocabulary with freer movement styles. Most the piece is set to Gilbert’s “Do You Me? and I Did,” a slow-moving soundscape. The Michael Clark Company dancers’ poise and balance was tested by the choreography, which was clear and exposed, and felt like an oddly drawn-out dream. Clark’s vision was fully justified by his performers.

Act 2 was devoted to “come, been and gone,” which Clark first presented in 2009. It has reportedly been modified many times. The version performed at the Byham was set to music by Iggy Pop and David Bowie and lasted 35 minutes. There was one brief passage of partial nudity.

Male and female dancers wear similar costumes in “come, been and gone,” which has an androgynous feel, unsurprising for a piece dominated by Bowie’s music. There’s even a projected film clip of Bowie singing “Heroes.”

For all the energy in the movement there is little emotional connection in the piece. There is plenty of interest from moment to moment, and even some wit in a section labeled “Intermission.” (There was a real intermission between the acts.) The only prop in the entire show is a chair into which a dancer wraps himself.

The final section is the most appealing, in which the dancers performance with exuberance to “The Jean Genie” before an attractive green back wall.

Long before the end, the show felt repetitive, which is another way of say differences didn’t make much of a difference. But many people were cheered at the end and the dancers were outstanding.

Mark Kanny is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7877 or mkanny@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.