Mark Dendy's Elvis Everywhere Cuts to the Heart of Our Celeb Obsession
You can count on Mark Dendy to create a wild and crazy piece that eventually cuts to the heart of the matter. In this case, his New York premiere, Elvis Everywhere, is about our obsession with celebrities.
The piece was inspired by a monologue Dendy happened to see from when Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense, met Elvis Presley. He captures the absurdity of the moment and then some. Commissioned by American Dance Festival with further development at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and UC Santa Barbara, Elvis Everywhere is a collaboration with Dendy’s longtime performer, designer and filmmaker, Stephen Donovan.
This piece is one in a long line of Dendy’s brazen, surrealist dance/theater works. I was partial to his Afternoon of the Faunes in 1996 and again in 2009.
In this 2014 “Choreography in Focus,” Dendy talks about why he was fascinated by Donald Rumsfeld’s yarn about Elvis, how he was influenced by Jane Comfort, what he learned from choreographing for musical theater, and the words of wisdom he gained from his mentor, Phyllis Lamhut. (And nobody imitates the legendary Lamhut like Mark Dendy!) It also has an excerpt of Dendy’s diabolical rendition of Rumsfeld’s falling-apart-before-your-eyes account of Elvis.