Meet A Very Different Faun, Tonight on PBS

The mythical faun, half human, half goat, has inspired many dance works. In Nijinsky's 1912 Afternoon of a Faun, he created a role for himself with the vulnerability of a human and the sensual power of an animal. His love object, a beautiful siren, was unattainable, so he pleasured himself with her scarf, causing a sensation in Paris.

Jerome Tisserand of Pacific Northwest Ballet in Robbins' Afternoon of a Faun, photo @Angela Sterling

Jerome Robbins created his faun in 1953 to the same Debussy music, but his character was part human, part dancer. The narcissism of looking in the mirror fostered a languid kind of self love. When he wakes up to the beautiful female dancer in the room, they are both so self-involved that the attraction doesn't go beyond one still-born kiss.

Mark Dendy portrayed a homoerotic duet with his "Afternoon of the Faunes" (part of his Dream Analysis) in 1996. He and Larry Keigwin sprinted faun-like, side by side, mostly in place. This new interpretation of the animal/human in love was quirky and touching.

Gregg Mozgala, with Lucie Baker (seated) in Rogoff's Diagnosis of a Faun, from the film Enter the Faun.

Tonight on "America Reframed" on PBS we will see yet another rendition of the faun. Choreographer/healer Tamar Rogoff's protagonist is sensual, virile, charming—and has cerebral palsy. In a way it's a perfect metaphor for the faun never fitting in. The lead performer is the charismatic, distinctive Gregg Mozgala, a professional actor. This amazing documentary, Enter the Faun, tracks Rogoff's approach to rehearsals with a differently-abled Faun, interspersed with clips of his performance in her 2009 Diagnosis of a Faun. Rogoff had an intuition that she could do what no doctor could—change the way he walks. In the film, she trains Mozgala in her "body scripting" technique, which involves hands-on manipulations and vigorous, sustained shaking. Mozgala is a changed man after their work together—but not without a sense of loss for his old, familiar, lop-sided walk.

When I previewed this film for Dance on Camera last year, I called Rogoff a miracle worker. If you watch the film on "America Reframed" tonight, you'll see why. You'll also see how humor can bubble up from a challenging situation.

Here's the trailer.

The 68-minute film airs tonight at 8pm EST. To check local listings in your area, click here.

For more info and for streaming after March 28, click here.

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Angela Sterling, Courtesy Boston Ballet

In the Works: 9 Projects We're Keeping Tabs On

Is it just us, or is there a new exciting project being announced approximately every five minutes these days?

While that might be a slight exaggeration, there's no denying that keeping track of all the major collaborations and musicals and movie adaptations and premieres can get overwhelming. So, we're compiling a list of the buzziest new endeavors that have been announced over the last month. They might be weeks, months or even years away, but here are some of the things the dance world has in the works that we'll most definitely be keeping an eye on:

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