Austrodance Festival 2006
Beyond the Waltz: Austrodance Festival 2006
October 31-November 8, 2006
Greenberg Theatre, American University, and other venues, Washington, DC
Reviewed by Lisa Traiger
Dana Tai Soon Burgess and Tati Valle-Riestra in Burgessï¿½ Images From the Embers
Photo by Mary Noble Ours, courtesy Dana Tai Soon Burgess & Company
There’s more to Austrian dance than a 3/4-time waltz. Much more, as this festival celebrating Austrian dancemakers, both current and past, proved. Five contemporary Austrian choreographers were joined by two Washington, DC, stalwarts in a festival sponsored by the Austrian Embassy.
The nine-day festival began by looking back and forward in an evening titled “Hanna Berger: Retouchings.” Viennese-born Berger (1910–1962) was a first-generation modern expressionist whose career was interrupted when the Nazis interned her in a concentration camp. The concert, curated by critic/historian Andrea Amort, proved enigmatic, never describing how Berger danced, what her works looked like, and what her descendants gleaned from her influence.
In Willi Dorner’s N.N., a video of Berger was accompanied by one-time Berger dancer Ottilie Mitterhuber’s live narration. Swaying, shifting, and speaking in German, she recalled her mentor’s influence in an evocative commentary that touched on aging and ephemerality. Dancer Martina Haager shaped Manfred Aichinger’s Fragile: Variations on a Choreographic Theme by Hanna Berger using circular and spiral paths that seemed familiar after watching N.N.
Dorner also presented two compact works that parsed the relationship between language and movement. The Vienna-based choreographer began making dances in the 1980s, after studying with Erick Hawkins and dancing with Iréne Hultman, Nina Martin, and Stephen Petronio. His 5-year-old threeseconds took a playful approach to conceptualism, using Heinz Ditsch’s multilingual electronic score and videography by Dorner, Lotte Schreiber, and Norbert Pfaffenbichler. Three animated dancers—Satu Herrala, Anthony Missen, and Matthew Smith—spouted angular gestures in semaphoric fashion, suggesting a grammar of movement to be read and analyzed. A mere blip after the discursive threeseconds, Dorner’s no credits consigned his dancers to Ms. Pacman–like shuffling and bobbling, like animatronic figures. Adriana Cubides and Smith squiggled, dashed, and seemed to jot words in space with elbows or body parts, as if they were pixilated icons making amusing parries before a sudden game-over ending overtook them.
Capezio, Bloch, So Dança, Gaynor Minden.
At the top of the line, dancers have plenty of quality footwear options to choose from, and in most metropolitan areas, stores to go try them on. But for many of North America's most economically disadvantaged dance students, there has often been just one option for purchasing footwear in person: Payless ShoeSource.
When Sonya Tayeh saw Moulin Rouge! for the first time, on opening night at a movie theater in Detroit, she remembers not only being inspired by the story, but noticing the way it was filmed.
"What struck me the most was the pace, and the erratic feeling it had," she says. The camera's quick shifts and angles reminded her of bodies in motion. "I was like, 'What is this movie? This is so insane and marvelous and excessive,' " she says. "And excessive is I think how I approach dance. I enjoy the challenge of swiftness, and the pushing of the body. I love piling on a lot of vocabulary and seeing what comes out."
Back when Robbie Fairchild graced the cover of the May 2018 issue of Dance Magazine, he mentioned an idea for a short dance film he was toying around with. That idea has now come to fruition: In This Life, starring Fairchild and directed by dance filmmaker Bat-Sheva Guez, is being screened at this year's Dance on Camera Festival.
While the film itself covers heavy material—specifically, how we deal with grief and loss—the making of it was anything but: "It was really weird to have so much fun filming a piece about grief!" Fairchild laughs. We caught up with him, Guez and Christopher Wheeldon (one of In This Life's five choreographers) to find out what went into creating the 11-minute short film.
When Hollywood needs to build a fantasy world populated with extraordinary creatures, they call Terry Notary.
The former gymnast and circus performer got his start in film in 2000 when Ron Howard asked him to teach the actors how to move like Whos for How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Notary has since served as a movement choreographer, stunt coordinator and performer via motion capture technology for everything from the Planet of the Apes series to The Hobbit trilogy, Avatar, Avengers: Endgame and this summer's The Lion King.
Since opening the Industry Dance Academy with his wife, Rhonda, and partners Maia and Richard Suckle, Notary also offers movement workshops for actors in Los Angeles.