GoCoyote!, on Dec 1 2008, 06:13 AM, said:
Having seen the piece myself I could just as easily describe it as 'a never ending one dimensional choreographic circus display of subverted ballet, pedestrian angst, sexy/ athletic posing coupled with constant and meaningless show of extreme extension and flexibility all of which remains uniformly vague and noncommittal throughout, with additional bizarre moments of 'emoting' as simplistic and shallow as any nursery school drama class awkwardly tacked on with all the choreographic subtly and sophistication of cartoon strip speech bubbles'.
GoCoyote! thank you very much for alerting us that this is up on YouTube. I wish I could disagree with you, but instead I just admire your description.
Writing in the New York Times, Roslyn Sulcas sees a "panoply of human life and physical possibilities." I see the second but it doesn't show me the first. Anxiety, agitation, cooperation without communication -- that's pretty narrow for a panoply. Sometimes the dance seems a metaphor for the extension of human abilities made possible by technology, or perhaps the speed and stress of modern life, and as such, I'm impressed. But that doesn't give it the high view of humanity I love in ballet.
And I don't like it that the women are manipulated but never manipulate. Tenderness isn't entirely lacking, but often I don't see partnering, I see an agon, and an unequal, pre-feminist one. I also dislike the costumes, which show the body in a frank but unidealized state that I find reductive, suitable to the choreography but ill-serving the beauty of human soul, which is what the choreographer seems to be trying to show us.
To my mind, much of the frenetic movement is impressive as athleticism but otherwise too busy to appreciate as presented. Image succeeds image so quickly that there is no time to savor them individually. This is history (narrative) as "one damn thing after another," and less powerful for it. Pausing the video and isolating short passages is more rewarding for me than watching straight through. Viewers with eyes better than mine and sensibilities accustomed to Forsythe and MacGregor may accordingly feel differently and know better.
Having said all this, I find the dance moving at times, in part because of the limpid score, in part because I sense that the choreographer was moved by what he was doing, and in part by the juxtaposition of the dancers as individuals with the literally faceless and largely indistinguishable electronic crowd. But the whole thing goes on and on, way past the point, for me, of developing the vocabulary or developing the characters.
As I write this I'm well aware that there are other ways to think of this ballet. I could argue with myself about almost everything I've said. I'm a little surprised no one else has posted since the dance has been available online. But maybe everyone is . . . thinking.
Thanks again, GoCoyote!