Helene

Artifact

8 posts in this topic

Boston Ballet's run of "Artifact" beginning this month is arguably the most important set of ballet performances in North America this season.  Leigh Witchel previews it for his new site dancelog.nyc. 

http://dancelog.nyc/?p=256

 

Be sure to watch the videos.

 

If someone here doesn't go and report back, I am going to cry.

Share this post


Link to post

And they're doing more Forsythe next season as well -- Pas/Parts

 

Lucky ducks.

Share this post


Link to post

Well I have had a few days to let my experience of seeing this ballet settle a bit and as I look over my notes scribbled on a plane ride back to Canada I can't help but notice that almost all my writing is in all capitalization lol. 

I'm not sure that I have ever felt so lucky to be part of an audience as I was when seeing Artifact by BB. I'm not sure I've even been in audience that was so engaged with attention from beginning to end. Even before the lights went down the feeing in the auditorium was electric. Everyone was truly excited for what was about to happen. 

And it was superb. If I had to narrow down one feeling that I think explains just why this work is so powerful I think I would say it is because there is such a clear and deep feeling of purpose throughout the whole thing. What blows my mind is that there is no story per say. It is an abstract work involving much high octane physical dance yes but also spoken word and very theatrical feeling moments as well. But every moment is so carefully constructed and full of intention. Every performer is so engaged and present and clear. I'm terrible at explaining myself but I just think it is such a gift to be able to make a work that speaks so clearly. And to do it without a well known story or characters to me is genius.

I have so rarely aside from the masters obviously seen a work so exquisitely constructed. So layered thoughtful and explicit in what it is trying to do. It never wanders it never waivers and I think this is a testament to the performers as well. 

I am sad not to have had a chance to see it multiple times. It is one of those experience that almost requires repeated viewing. There is so much to take in so much to savor and layers to explore. 

If anyone else saw it I would love to hear your thoughts on the curtain in Part 2. It was the only moment I felt I couldn't crack. 

All in all Having William Forsythe there is an enormous coup for BB. They should be proud. They are putting on work of WORLD CLASS quality by the best people. BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO 👏 

Share this post


Link to post

I'm so glad you got to see this, and that you shared some of your impressions here.

Share this post


Link to post

JumpFrog - I agree with everything you have said.  I feel as though it is difficult to express the experience of watching this work.  I attended two performances this past weekend - Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.  To be honest, during the first showing, I was somewhat puzzled and actually found some of the work a bit pretentious.  I wanted to see the dancers, I tired of the megaphone man and the lady in the dress (I don't have my program in front of me, so I forget what she is officially called).  I found the curtain dropping in the second movement very annoying.  I was also having difficulty hearing what megaphone man was saying, so this was disappointing.  Since there were no program notes, it is difficult in one viewing to understand.  I enjoyed the dancing sections, which, of course, are very "Forsythian."  I had the opportunity to speak to several of the dancers and picked their brains a bit about what was happening, which helped a bit.  I also tried to read summaries from different places.  This comment from Forsythe helped, "The language in 'Artifact,' he said, is the language of ballet terminology. 'En dehors, en dedans, the outside, the inside, remembering, forgetting; it’s what we say in class and rehearsal every day.'” (NY Times)  However, I don't know if it was a good night's sleep after traveling to Boston, a new attitude or what.  But, upon second viewing, I was stunned.  I will say that I could hear megaphone man better.  The whole ballet came alive, the dancing seemed even crisper than the night before, I heard the music as if I had not heard it before.  The curtain dropping in the second movement, I suddenly found very musical.  The men's sections of the ballet are amazing.  I also found out that the third movement is totally new, and that whole sequence with the men and women on separate sides of the stage counting, talking, clapping, slapping, etc. was learned only a few days prior to opening.  It was also amazing to see Forsythe in the audience actually calling some of the show.  I was told that during the third movement, he was actually in control of how long the dancers clapped, snapped, counted, etc.  The booms in between each section were being called by him in the audience.  Additionally, what most people don't realize is that the gray woman is mostly improvisation through the whole ballet, and when she leads the sections with the dancers, they must follow her.  I have to give the Boston dancers kudos for embracing this work so amazingly.  I liked it so much the second time around, I am going back for a third this weekend.   

Share this post


Link to post
7 hours ago, its the mom said:

  I liked it so much the second time around, I am going back for a third this weekend.   

 

Lucky duck!

Share this post


Link to post

P.S.  I was stunned at the amount of people who got up and left at intermission on Friday night.  I was speaking to one of the theatre attendants and she said that people left on opening night also, at the pause and at intermission.  It is sad they did not wait it out for the superb dancing in the latter part of the ballet. 

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for these reports...Sounds rather an extraordinary evening.

Share this post


Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.