Dance Matters: Active Voice
Gutierrez, with Hilary Clark and Ishmael Houston-Jones in background. Photo by Chris Cameron, Courtesy BAM.
What’s on Miguel Gutierrez’s mind these days? (A fair question to ask about a guy who has had his performers and audience share the same stage space, or had lovely dancer Michelle Boulé impersonate James Dean.) From the sound of And lose the name of action—which premiered in September at Walker Art Center and is heading for BAM’s Next Wave Festival, Dec. 4–8—it’s the aging body and brain.
But wait. There’s more.
The Miguel Gutierrez & The Powerful People website (www.miguelgutierrez.org) proclaims, in big, fuschia-colored letters, “PROBABLY THE BIGGEST QUESTION I MAKE ABOUT ART IS: WHY ARE WE ALIVE.” Yet And lose the name of action, sometimes described as “a moving séance for the 21st Century,” ventures into the afterlife of ghosts. (The title is a Hamlet reference.) It’s still about bodies, just bodies that are no longer real.
But first, a choreographer needs bodies that are absolutely real. Gutierrez’s track record in collaborating with some of New York’s smartest young avantgarde artists is proven. This time, though, he felt moved to try something new.
“I realized that I had never worked with older people,” he says. “The choreographer is often the oldest person in the process. For all the lip service that we pay to being experimental, New Yorkers make a lot of conservative decisions around casting. You see lots of young, pretty, white ladies in dance in New York. I just wanted to put together a group of people who look really different.”
Besides Gutierrez, that really different-looking—and renowned—crew includes Boulé, Hilary Clark, Luke George, K. J. Holmes, and Ishmael Houston-Jones, ranging in age from 33 to 62.
“It’s funny how the casting has worked out,” he admits. “It’s purely alchemical, psychic weirdness.”
His imaginative curiosity drove research into concepts of “mind-body” in neurology, philosophy, somatics, and 19th-century spiritualism. He pored over The Perfect Medium: Photography and the Occult (from a 2005 show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art) and joined a South Florida ghost hunt that featured talk of the Confederate dead. His father’s struggle with neurological complications also shaped his concerns in the work.
Not revealing too much of the magic, Gutierrez allows that the audience at BAM’s new 250-seat Fishman Space can expect “possibilities of multiple perspectives.”
And lose the name of action also travels to Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Jan. 31–Feb. 3, and Seattle’s On the Boards, May 2–5.
What do Percy Jackson, Princess Diana and Tina Turner have in common? They're all characters on Broadway this season. Throw in Michelle Dorrance's choreographic debut, Henry VIII's six diva-licious wives and the 1990s angst of Alanis Morissette, and the 2019–20 season is shaping up to be an exciting mix of past-meets-pop-culture-present.
Here's a look at the musicals hitting Broadway in the coming months. We're biding our time until opening night!
If you think becoming a trainee or apprentice is the only path to gaining experience in a dance company environment, think again.
The University of Arizona, located in the heart of Tucson, acclimates dancers to the pace and rigor of company life while offering all the academic opportunities of a globally-ranked university. If you're looking to get a head-start on your professional dance career—or to just have a college experience that balances company-level training and repertory with rigorous academics—the University of Arizona's undergraduate and graduate programs have myriad opportunites to offer:
Yes, we realize it's only August. But we can't help but to already be musing about all the incredible dance happenings of 2019.
We're getting ready for our annual Readers' Choice feature, and we want to hear from you about the shows you can't stop thinking about, the dance videos that blew your mind and the artists you discovered this year who everyone should know about.
Ah, stretching. It seems so simple, and is yet so complicated.
For example: You don't want to overstretch, but you're not going to see results if you don't stretch enough. You want to focus on areas where you're tight, but you also can't neglect other areas or else you'll be imbalanced. You were taught to hold static stretches growing up, but now everyone is telling you never to hold a stretch longer than a few seconds?
Considering how important stretching correctly is for dancers, it's easy to get confused or overwhelmed. So we came up with 10 common stretching scenarios, and gave you the expert low-down.