A Tribute To Gus Solomons
Gus Solomons jr, was such a striking dancer that both Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham invited him to dance with them. As a choreographer he’s made something like 170 pieces in all kinds of environments. As a teacher, he was demanding but nurturing for his hundreds of Tisch Dance students at NYU for more than 22 years. And as a writer for Dance Magazine and other publications, he possesses a perceptive, wise (if sometimes wise-cracking), voice.
Gus Solomons c. 1989
Dance Magazine Looks Back: Now Gus is the subject of a tribute in the form of “The Horse’s Mouth,” which I will explain in a minute. But first, check out Dance Magazine’s own look back. at Solomons in 2013, complete with a hilarious sleepless-while-being-Gus video, courtesy Larry Keigwin.
A tribute to Gus: Back to the present—or more specifically, this week—when the 14th Street Y in Manhattan presents a “Horse’s Mouth” tribute to Solomons, April 1–3. Twenty-three dancers, including Carmen de Lavallade, Valda Setterfield, Dianne McIntyre, Margaret Jenkins, Donald Byrd, Martine van Hamel and yours truly, will tell stories about Gus while fulfilling an improvisational structure.
Solomons, courtesy The Performance Lab
Solomons' wisdom: He’s often been a mentor to aspiring choreographers. When asked in a recent interview what advice he gives, this is what he said: “I tell them, ‘Don’t bore me! Structurally do whatever you want, but keep giving me new information. Don’t do the same thing another time just because the music does!’ ”
Chatting with Gus: In addition, I will have the honor of interviewing Gus on Wednesday, April 30 at 4:00. If you are in New York City, please come join us.
For tickets: For either the performances or the Gus-Wendy conversation, click here.
Solomons Says: By the way, wherever you are, you can red Gus’ recent writing here.
More than once, when I'm sporting my faded, well-loved ballet hoodie, some slight variation of this conversation ensues:
"Is your daughter the dancer?"
"Actually," I say, "I am."
"Wow!" they enthuse. "Who do you dance with? Or have you retired...?"
"I don't dance with a company. I'm not a professional. I just take classes."
Insert mic drop/record scratch/quizzical looks.
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