Sep 12, 2009

An intense launch to the 09-10 Northrop Dance season! The dancers’ vigorous bending and twisting, depicting the relationship between mind and body, combined with the multimedia installments was an intriguing outlook into the world of research driven dance. We were privileged to start off the season with such a powerful piece. Did you see the show? What were your thoughts/reactions? We’d love your feedback!

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Wonderful performance! Fantastic use of music. Making a harmony between peace and buzz. Thank you for all of your impressive collaboration~


Having over 19 years of attending Northrup dance performances I have seen enough dance to know my way around the genre. Several years ago the Northrup has the Dayton Dance Company come to town. Their performance was, my wife and I thought, the worst of any we had seen up to that time. Just a bunch of running back and forth across the stage and sitting in chairs. I commented to my wife early on in the performance, this reminded me of Dayton on steroids set to techno music. My wife's comment was, "but, without the chairs." I honestly thought I was in for a terrific performance when the dancers first appeared on stage. The snappy moves coordinated with the snappy music for about the first 25 measures. But soon the entire performance started to unravel into a bunch of gymnast's performing robotically accompanied by techno music. Now I have nothing against gymnast's performing as dancers, Merce Cunningham did it all the time, and I have nothing against techno music, happen to like it. But, when you pair the two together you better have something to say with the meld, otherwise the entire effort falls into a disjointed, discordance, that struggles for continuity and constancy. In this age of "text messaging" exemplified by the need for constant instant communication, as an art form, this performance may be an instant hit, but rolled out into the historical world of substantial dance performances, with memorable sets, dancers, and most important, choreography, this work tonight did not get past the send key. I absolutely hate choreographers that leave their dancers standing around with nothing to do, or just abruptly let them walk off the stage, as if they're an after thought. There was plenty of that tonight. God dammit, Wayne get creative, find something for your dancers to do as they transition on and off the stage. Find a way to get your dancers to be a part of the music, not some sort of robot out there doing athletic exercises that have no connection to the music. I'm not faulting the dancers here. They only do as they are directed, so the accountability is with the creative force that finds a direction for them. That's where you come in and you come up short. Their athleticism doesn't express art. And that's the pity. Their genuine efforts are wasted on a disconnected performance because of lack of creative vision and expression. If you're into brain as art, it can't be expressed viscerally in the corporeal being. It just can't. Dance is not about the brain, it's about the body. The body is constant, the brain wanders. The body feels, the brain thinks. Feeling and thinking hardly ever come away with the same view. Trying to make the body as brain is like trying to see the world with your eyes always crossed. And you know how difficult that is to keep up. Where was your "hear the dance, see the music," tonight. This is my "gold standard" for performance reviews. Unless I missed it, I saw none of it tonight. I guess this performance can be summed by the book ending of the dogs at the start and the finish of your work, by saying that a "dog" of a performance was between the covers, too.

I have been involved with "the dance" for 35 years from Philadelphia and New York to Houston and Paris. You are simply (but pompously) wrong. By the way, Merce Cunningham, though now part of the canon, is not one of my favorites. But I can at least appreciate how and why he originally made his mark. Same with Wayne McGregor. The intersection of Brain, Neuroscience, "Consciousness" and Body are the current cutting edge of philosophy/science inquiry. In my opinion, McGregor has something to add to the discussion. Besides, I enjoyed it!

Ummmm, Sad response to a wonderful show. Perhaps if you looked for what was there rather than what wasn't - you would have stretched yourself.


I knew I would be completely impressed or just bewildered and annoyed with the concept of this performance. I almost walked out after twenty minutes of seeing the same movements from all the dancers but they changed the music and stage so I felt compelled to stay. It got somewhat better but overall it was a 3 out of 10 for me. Oh well.

Loved this performance. Best I've seen in awhile. Would it be possible to get access to the Jon Hopkins music?

It is always interesting to see the range of responses to the same performance. I found Random Dance stunning and hypnotic. As an ex-academic, I may appreciate the abstract to an extreme, but last night's show struck me as a particularly thoughtful mix of intriguing philosophical ideas and the beauty of bodies moving through space in a way I hadn't seen before. I loved it (and the music, too). Thanks, Northrop, for presenting this edgy work.

A visceral and electrifying performance. McGregor shows us fragments of grace in a mathematical kaleidoscope of movement, the probabilistic way in which connections are formed and broken. And the clever integration of music, video and dance enhances the overall impact of the performance. I can see how this might be befuddling, even distressing, to more conservative tastes, but that's precisely why I found it so engaging.

Monotonous, annoying music, very repetitive. Dancers were very good but choreography was rendom repetition of several patterns. No underlying story, no melody or beat, no variety in costumes. It was more of a dancing exercise rather than a finished dance show. Very disappointing..,

I was so looking forward to McGregor's appearance at Northrop, and my high expectations were exceeded. A visceral, smart, energizing, physically gorgeous work -- brilliantly constructed, smartly staged and amazingly performed. I found myself wishing I could watch it again as soon as it was over.

WOW - my wife didn't stop talking about the performance all the way home, while I couldn't quite find the words - not that we need words. I felt like I had 30 years back when first seeing Cunningham and Cage, but in a whole new world and a whole new movement lexicon. Good dancers dancing - not necessarily easily accessible, but kinetic, unrelenting and moving. I too don't just like dancers stopping and walking on or off stage, but when these dancers did so, I didn't percieve a stop and thought it in character with the dance. I also liked the set, media and sound. Great find and good start to the season!

This just wasn't my cup of tea. I think I would have appreciated the dance performance more if I enjoyed the music. I found the music irritating. (Yes, I know this is all extremely subjective.) I found the movements repetitive, the entrances and exits functional. And I totally missed the point of the male dancers removing their shirts.

A Pantheon of Movement complete with a cast of nine gods and goddesses disguised as dancers describes my experience with Entity on Friday night. These masters of motion modeled what the Ancient Greek Gods might have imagined for their human creations given a complete sense of freedom and empowerment within their bodies: fearless and uncompromising investigations of each limb, sinew, and muscle. At times awkward, unsightly, and discomforting, Entity also offered moments of subtle romantic interludes and innovative forms with equally explosive and pensive power. Tapping into a seemingly endless well of movement variations virtuosic in both ballet and more unconventional modern styles celebrating hyper-dexterity, Entity captured the broad range of the human and "super-human" experience. These divine movers did not dance so much as swim through the endless depths of their skeletal structures--fluidity mixed with staccato tension and angular gestures. As the piece segued from the more classically inspired quartet music composed by Joby Talbot that opened the work to Jon Hopkins' electrifying and pulsing industrial oasis of sound, I could feel the shifts of internal landscapes. With biomorphic forms crossing the three screens framing the dancers, we saw the origins of motion as exhibited on smaller scales ranging from cell to organism, bird to canine.--an evolution of form and function culminating in the "entities" occupying the stage in real time. McGregor invited us to stand on the ledge of Mount Olympus and glimpse a new realm of possibility.within the framework of movement-- a unique journey not for the faint of heart but vastly rewarding to those open to a new narrative, both within and with out.

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