An Ode to Lincoln Center in Summer

August 7, 2011

It’s not just the excitement of the Mariinsky coming to Lincoln Center Festival, with its gorgeous dancing and confounding repertoire.  It’s not just the free performances like the amazing Water by Eiko & Koma in the Milstein Pool as part of Lincoln Center Out of Doors. Or the dancers of Trey McIntyre Project bursting with crazy yet precise energy at Damrosch Park while all of us sat in the rain, some people pumping their umbrellas to the beat. (Even some cops momentarily danced in the aisles).

Eiko and Koma in
Water. Photo by Kevin Yatarola, Courtesy Lincoln Center.



It’s also the come-in-and-browse type of situations. At the Merce Fair one Saturday, it was fun to see children cavort among Andy Warhol’s silver pillows for Rainforest, or hear Nancy Dalva moderate a “Mondays With Merce” episode (Merceless of course) with former dancers, or get to chat with David Vaughan, who has catalogued Merce’s performances going back to 1938.

Before any performance, you could see the new fountain shoot water high into the air as kids squealed with delight. And at night, while leaving a performance, you could be mesmerized by David Michalek’s slow-mo Dramatic Portraits in Time in the main plaza. And when you leave the plaza and look back, you can see the glowing titles of productions—or just the names of the constituents (Juilliard, Koch Theater, Vivian Beaumont, etc.)—passing by on the steps.

Any day during the summer you can go to the Library of Performing Arts to satiate your curiosity about your latest dance-history crush—or just to cool off. Better yet, visit Residue,” Eiko & Koma’s haunting exhibit of residue from their work: videos, costumes, and a mysterious Tea House (it’s up till October 30). And on the main floor of the Library, near the entrance, you might be entranced by a pair of 70s photos on the wall: there’s Bette Midler at her most outrageously sensual, right next to Baryshnikov at his most perfectly classical.

Outdoors again, you pass by the Milstein Pool, with its humongous stone statues by Henry Moore, now quiet and lovely but with echoes of Eiko & Koma’s Water if you’d seen it there the week before. On the far side is the crazily slanted grass hill, where students gather. Much to explore.

OK, I admit I live only 20 blocks away so it’s easy for me. But Lincoln Center is a huge resource for everyone in the city. I hope you take advantage of it before summer fades away.