Correction appended: The event was mistitled “(Re)Visionary Dance.” The correct title is “(Re)Visionary Dances.” The price has been corrected to $9. The dates have been clarified to indicate that the performance runs through Sunday.
Tomorrow through Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
The Power Center
Tickets from $9
There’s no intuitive connection between modern dance, seduction and particle physics. But those who attend the University Dance Company’s “(Re)visionary Dances” concert will witness an exploration of all these subjects through the performance of Paul Taylor’s “Le Sacre du Printemps” (The Rehearsal) and premiere routines by School of Music, Theatre & Dance Professors of Dance Amy Chavasse, Jessica Fogel and Sandra Torijano DeYoung.
In an e-mail interview, School of Music, Theatre & Dance Thurnau Professor of Dance and Artistic Director Peter Sparling wrote that, as part of the “(Re)visionary Dances” series, this performance will “build a program of new dances by three U-M faculty choreographers around a master dancemaker’s re-envisioning — or better, reinvention — of the most radical, defining moment in 20th-century music and dance.”
That moment was the 1913 premiere of Ballet Russes’s “Le Sacre de Printemps,” choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky and set to the music of Igor Stravinsky. The ballet was ridiculed by audiences after the first few performances for its unconventional, awkward movements and dark music. At the time, the work clearly had no place in a world of romantic, soft, fairy-tale ballet.
In 1980, choreographer Paul Taylor decided to restage the work through the lens of modern dance. Combining elements of film noir and gangster-movie violence, Taylor layered various plot lines together to depict of a typical dance company in rehearsal, resurrecting Nijinsky’s original work. The University’s 30th anniversary restaging will honor the famed choreographer’s 80th birthday.
Adding new life to a classic, faculty members Chavasse, Fogel and Torijano have created pieces that respond to feedback from previous audiences who felt that modern dance was heavy and dark.
Chavasse has set out to create a bright, joyous piece that will appeal to audiences.
“Modern dance is seen as dark and elliptical and hard to understand by people, perhaps because of theme, tone or design elements,” Chavasse said. “What does that mean? Why is dance seen as dark?”
In her fourth year with the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Chavasse has chosen to explore the theme of seduction in her piece, “The Hunger for the Longing for the Craving for the Aching (A Biased History of Seduction).” Set to different versions of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land,” the piece explores the multiple facets of seduction, including the psychological and political aspects.
“Hopefully someone could come and know nothing about Woody or the origin of ‘This Land is Your Land’ and just watch it and have a nice warm glow and be happy about it,” Chavasse said. “But there’s a deeper idea. No one will walk away saying it was dark.”
Fogel’s work, titled “Out of Thin Air — Lightness,” explores the concept of how the lightness of the subatomic world reflects our own essential lightness.
“Since we have a time limit on the duration for our dances, I narrowed my topic mostly to this — a kind of poetic take on some of the questions being raised in the field of particle physics,” Fogel wrote in an e-mail interview.
Inspiration for her piece includes a book by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek entitled “The Lightness of Being,” as well as the University’s involvement in particle physics research.
Even if it doesn’t teach you particle physics, Sparling hopes “(Re)Visionary Dances” will prove entertaining.
“We hope you enjoy the spectacle,” he wrote.