Rimasto Orfano, Emio Greco/PC
Wexner Center for the Arts / April 5, 2005
Photo by Jean Pierre Stoop
Thurber Theatre at Drake Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
April 5, 2005
Reviewed by Steve Sucato
“Emio Greco is dead,” proclaimed a dancer at the beginning of Rimasto Orfano (Abandoned Orphan). Nothing could have been further from the truth. What seemed dead by the end of the performance, however, was the notion that there is nothing new in dance. Italian choreographer Greco and Dutch theater director Pieter C. Scholten have created a dance experience of such creative brilliance and overwhelming emotion that even the most jaded critic could not help but be moved.
Continuing a movement aesthetic begun in Conjunto di NERO, this fascinating, disturbing journey of a work evoked images of watching patients (orphaned or not) in a mental institution, at times even peering into their minds. A bare stage framed by crumpled white silk drops and a single suspended white light bulb provided the backdrop to a mesmerizing display of nervous ticks, insecure glances, and simple movements like the waving of a dancer’s arm in the air, amplified in intensity a hundred fold.
Equally intense was the original score by American composer Michael Gordon and a sound collage of random noises and sirens by Wim Selles. The company’s half-dozen dancers, costumed in loose-fitting, monklike gowns of the same fabric as the drops, moved in emotional concert to the soundscape. On a stage often split into halves of shadow and light, the dancers sidled up to one another, anxiety and a need for conformity provoking them to mimic each other’s every step and body position. Slow-paced, synchronous movement tinkering led to fits of fast-paced unison group dancing in a flowing modern dance style that pressed the performers to exhaustion.
Dubbed “Extremealism” by Francois Le Pillouer, director of the Théâtre National de Bretagne, Greco and Scholten’s choreographic style for Rimasto Orfano tested the boundaries of minimalism and dancer commitment to the movement mentally, physically, and theatrically. None proved more up to the test than Greco, whose fervent dancing, maniacal silent screams, and violent head shaking and bashing onto the stage floor pierced the soul. Whether a conceptual representation of abandonment of mind, body, or both, Rimasto Orfano is a masterpiece.
For more information: www.emiogrecopc.nl
It's a cycle familiar to many: First, a striking image of a lithe, impossibly fit dancer executing a gravity-defying développé catches your eye on Instagram. You pause your scrolling to marvel, over and over again, at her textbook physique.
Inevitably, you take a moment to consider your own body, in comparison. Doubt and negative self-talk first creep, and then flood, in. "I'll never look like that," the voice inside your head whispers. You continue scrolling, but the image has done its dirty work—a gnawing sensation has taken hold, continually reminding you that your own body is inferior, less-than, unworthy.
It's no stretch to say that social media has a huge effect on body image. For dancers—most of whom already have a laser-focus on their appearance—the images they see on Instagram can seem to exacerbate ever-present issues. "Social media is just another trigger," says Nadine Kaslow, a psychologist who works with the dancers of Atlanta Ballet. "And dancers don't need another trigger." In the age of Photoshop and filters, how can dancers keep body dysmorphia at bay?
If "Fosse/Verdon" whet your appetite for the impeccable Gwen Verdon, then Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon is the three-course meal you've been craving. The new documentary—available now on Amazon for rental or purchase—dives into the life of the Tony-winning performer and silver-screen star lauded for her charismatic dancing.
Though she's perhaps most well-known today as Bob Fosse's wife and muse, that's not even half of her story. For starters, she'd already won four Tonys before they wed, making her far more famous in the public eye than he was at that point in his career. That's just one of many surprising details we learned during last night's U.S. premiere of Merely Marvelous. Believe us: You're gonna love her even more once you get to know her. Here are eight lesser-known tidbits to get you started.
Every dancer knows that how you fuel your body affects how you feel in the studio. Of course, while breakfast is no more magical than any other meal (despite the enduring myth that it's the most important one of the day), showing up to class hangry is a recipe for unproductive studio time.
So what do your favorite dancers eat in the morning to set themselves up for a busy rehearsal or performance day?
When it comes to dance in the U.S., companies in the South often find themselves overlooked—sometimes even by the presenters in their own backyard. That's where South Arts comes in. This year, the regional nonprofit launched Momentum, an initiative that will provide professional development, mentorship, touring grants and residencies to five Southern dance companies.