SOLO Post-Performance Reflection

Oct 04, 2014

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Photo of Tamara Ober jumping Photo of Tamara Ober jumping
Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

SOLO featured six completely different world premieres by McKnight Foundation Artist Dancer Fellows and their choreographers: Kari Mosel (Lane Gifford), Tamara Ober (D.J. Mendel), Gregory Waletski (Karen Sherman), Taryn Griggs (Jodi Melnick), Ashwini Ramaswamy (Alarmel Valli), and Stephen Schroeder (James Morrow). What was your experience seeing six solos back-to-back in one performance? What ideas did any of the solos accomplish from your perspective? Share your thoughts and join the conversation!

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I thought the piece by Karen Sherman was very disappointing and insulting to the audience. This was supposed to be DANCE, not sarcastic performance art. I have never seen Gregory Waletski dance before, and I still haven't. This seemed lazy on their part and a waste of the McKnight grant money.

It was fun to see such a variety of performances, and to see the directions in which the dancers and choreographers took their pieces. It challenged the audience to stretch their understanding of dance, which - as always - will thrill some and not others. The video sections were interesting, hearing what inspiration they used to create the dance.

Six solos back to back held my attention. The video background's personal insight added a level to this work. I loved Greg Waletski's personal video and felt that Karen Sherman's choreography did him an injustice and made him just look like the word he shouted. My personal favorite was Kari and Lane. The depth of the subject matched the physicality, music, lighting and costume! It was great.

SOLO was a very interesting idea for a dance evening. It was fun to see different performers doing different things, and to understand the value of organizations like the McKnight Foundation in this arena. The "shepherding" of the tiny audience into the lower front section worked, although it seemed strange at first. I liked the video discussions by the choreographers and dancers - they gave me a new perspective on how the creators think about what they are doing. As for the individual performances, I'd rank my enjoyment of them (on a scale of 1-10, compared with the many performances I have seen at Northrop over 35 years): 1 - Ashwini Ramaswamy - 8/10 2- Kari Mosel 7/10 3- Tamara Ober 6/10 4- Stephen Schroder 5/10 5- Taryn Griggs 3/10 6- Gregory Waletski 1/10

I think the first and last performances were the best. Although Waletski was entertaining, he dance for only <1 minute. I would have had him do one of his purported BIG jumps at the end over the chandelier he dragged in. That would have made for a Wow! moment and saved his piece. The Griggs piece (polka dot dress) was uninspiring, and the part where she sat in front of the stage with her legs open, so I could see her private parts, was very rude (I was in the first row, won't make that mistake again). I could see that Schroeder was an excellent performer, I wish he had better choreography, although I could understand what he was trying to portray. Ober, good dancer. Mosel was very powerful; I liked that piece a lot. Ramaswamy was fantastic; I'd pay to see her again. Overall, when I consider that each dancer and choreographer were given $25K, this was NOT worth $300K of McKnight money.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at this performance. I loved the wide range of choreography and pieces, and it made for a truly entertaining evening. Ashwini Ramaswamy was absolutely stunning. Tamara Ober made me laugh and brought so much energy and life to the stage. Stephen Schroeder is quite a strong dancer, and I appreciated that his piece felt so personal. I really enjoyed the lighting in Taryn Griggs' solo, and how her movement was much more nonchalant in a way. Greg Waletski's piece, while unexpected, was hilarious. I love that he was trying to do something totally different from what the dance viewership community was expecting from him. It provided a nice contrast in the whole evening. Finally, Kari Mosel was possibly my favorite. She is such an incredibly strong dancer, and it was definitely a way to end the evening with a bang. Overall, thank you for an amazing night. I can't wait for the next SOLO performances to come around.

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