60 x 60 —- What is Dance?

60x60_pressI’ll be performing for one minute in New York on April 7th. That’s right: for one minute. I’ll be taking part in Sixty by Sixty, a celebration of new music and dance coordinated by Jeramy Zimmerman (Artistic Director of Cat Scratch Theater, formerly of DC) and Robert Voisey (Founder of Vox Novus.)

60 x 60 events contain 60 new works of music from 60 different composers. Each composition is 60 seconds (or less) in duration sequenced together to create a one hour performance. Highlighting the work of a great many composers, 60×60 testifies to the vibrancy of contemporary composition by presenting the diverse array of styles, aesthetics and techniques being used today. The 60 x 60 dance events pair 60 new one minute dances, with 60 new one minute compositions.

Rosalyn Sulcas writing for the New York Times on November 17th, 2008 wrote,

“The idea of 60 new dance pieces performed to 60 new works of music, each lasting no more than 60 seconds is quite mad. But it’s this kind of madness that makes the cultural world go round.”

I’m pleased to be partnering with 60 x 60 in a project for Bourgeon, the magazine I edit. In 2006 I got 34 artists (mostly local artists) to answer the question: ‘What is Dance?” The answers ranged from three words, to three page pieces of fiction (thank you George.) Bourgeon will be publishing the 60 x 60 participants answers to that same question.

Reading through the diversity of responses from 2006 I was intrigued to see certain trends emerge, and am looking forward to seeing whether this new set of answers is similar, or different. A big thank you to Robert Voisey for making this happen.

If you’re curious to see the past set of answers to ‘What is Dance?’, this link will take you to that feed.

Video reviews

I was able to sit in on the Dance Critics Association annual conference last summer (thanks George.) Hosted by the Kennedy Center, the meeting was an opportunity to sit in a room with the best and newest critics around, and to listen as they shared opinions, joys, and pains. Delphina Parenti‘s performance of an early modern Maslow piece punctuates my memory of the conference.

Amongst all the talking was some serious hand-wringing regarding changes wrought by technology. Does criticism have to change to reach electronic readers? Perhaps words are no longer enough? Now we will have to make videos also? There isn’t time to do that. How can we be writers and multi-media producers at the the same time?

I have no idea when this started, or if others are doing it; here is a video review of a new production of Guys and Dolls by Terry Teachout, dance and theater critic for the Wall Street Journal. I’ve enjoyed his blog on arts journal for a while.

The Joyce Theater now has a blog. Not a hat on the street one, but an actual content-carrying one. Dance Theater Workshops‘s performance listing pages now have images and video from performances.

As the new things arrive (railroads, cars, telephones, computers….) the worst that the old people can do for themselves is pretend that they can’t work with the new things. The second worst of course is thinking that the new thing can replace them/what they do. I’m pretty sure we’ll start seeing more video reviews published alongside traditional ones. Kudos to Terry and his team for not waiting for the express.

Random Reading

Was reading online and saw this…. A nice clipped-together three minutes with Twyla Tharp. No incredible meaning, but there were some resonances to my own thoughts. It’s nice sometimes when you hear people more ‘respectable’ and ‘succesful’ than yourself speaking in a fashion that you imagine could be your own.

As I’m getting older, I see the stars of my world (dancers, politicians, choreographers, writers) more and more as humans. Funny process that.