10000 Gestures, PC Tristram Kenton

Boris Charmatz Brings His Mad, Myriad Motions to NYC

Boris Charmatz, a favorite choreographer in France for his dancing in museums, has come up with an idea for non-stop dance. In his new piece, 10000 Gestures, each action is different—no repeats. This week, a horde of more than 20 dancers invades New York City's NYU Skirball Center, each of them cramming a thousand gestures into one hour. They seem to be exorcising them—shaking, scratching, jabbing, huddling—as though they can't get rid of them fast enough.


If you look at it historically, it's kind of like Yvonne Rainer's Trio A on speed, amplified by 20 people. (One of the things Trio A is known for is never repeating a phrase.) Mozart's Requiem in D minor gives this manic display of outbursts a certain grandiosity. Charmatz calls the piece "an ode to the impermanence of the art of dance." Catch it while you can, on September 27 and 28. This North American premiere is part of the Crossing the Line Festival, a series sponsored by the French Institute Alliance Française.

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Jason Samuels Smith, photographed by Jayme Thornton

Moving Forward by Looking Back: A Week at the L.A. Tap Festival Online

I turned to tap at the outset of the European lockdown as a meaningful escape from the anxiety of the pandemic. As a dance historian specialized in dance film, I've seen my fair share of tap on screen, but my own training remains elementary. While sheltering in place, my old hardwood floors beckoned. I wanted to dig deeper in order to better understand tap's origins and how the art form has evolved today. Not so easy to accomplish in France, especially from home.

Enter the L.A. Tap Fest's first online edition.

Alongside 100 other viewers peering out from our respective Zoom windows, I watch a performer tap out rhythms on a board in their living room. Advanced audio settings allow us to hear their feet. In the chat box, valuable resources are being shared and it's common to see questions like, "Can you post the link to that vaudeville book you mentioned?" Greetings and words of gratitude are also exchanged as participants trickle in and out from various times zones across the US and around the world.

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