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Dawson/Wallace Dance Project Nascent

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I attended my first ever performance by the group formerly known as David Taylor Dance Theater yesterday (3/25). David Taylor had stepped away from the day-to-day operations of the group several years ago, letting his assistant, James Wallace, run the group. Apparently, David Taylor decided to completely retire and turned over the keys to James Wallace. James Wallace then decided to collaborate with a man named Gregory Dawson, who has danced with and/or directed several dance companies in the San Francisco area. The dancers have remained through the transition (other than the normal turnover). Since there was pointe work and turnout, I posted this in a ballet forum rather than a modern dance forum.

Since my impressions of ballet have been formed by the very fluid and graceful, hyper-Russian style of the Colorado Ballet, this program was a whole new experience. The program consisted of 3 15-20 minute long pieces, the first 2 choreographed by Wallace and the 3rd choreographed by Dawson. All were very modern, with all the good and bad that this designation implies. All were set to minimalist music.

I came away unsure of whether I would go to see this group again. The dancers were wonderfully athletic and flexible (and the women had great legs even by dancer standards smile.png ). It was certainly a novel experience and the choreographers are obviously highly creative. But on the other hand, the program was very academic. The program notes contained statements like "...explore choreographed phrases that will be retrograded, distorted, and inverted in a way that they will not be recognizable from the original composed sentences." All 3 works were emotionally sterile. No drama, no story, no depictions of human interaction, no attempt at "beauty", at least in the non-intellectual sense. Both of Wallace's pieces tended to move at about the same pace for the entire length (not surprising when working with the minimalist music), and they became repetitious (not unlike a lot of recent classical music works). Sophisticated art fans probably would have found the program more entertaining than a simpleton like me did.

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