Magazine article Dance Magazine

Tennessee Dance Theatre

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Tennessee Dance Theatre

Article excerpt

Tennessee Dance Theatre and Ballet Theatre Pennsylvania came to New York City with works that revealed a similarly standoffish attitude toward dance.

Beefed up by program notes, props, and plot, their performances illustrated the notion that actual choreography is an accessory - present, but not necessarily prominent. Dancemakers from both companies failed to bring forth either shape or meaning from movement, presumably the task at hand. Rather than emphasize dance values, these performances were meant to convey ideas, tell stories, and, finally, to entertain. Tennessee Dance Theatre achieved the last goal by celebrating its regional spirit, while Ballet Theatre Pennsylvania latched onto the tried-and-true Dracula myth.

The Tennessee company attempted to bring dance down home with Front Porch and Quilts (a premiere), both jointly choreographed by artistic directors Donna Rizzo and Andrew Krichels. Front Porch consists of six vignettes, each desperately trying to capture some quintessential life experience. Such an ambitious attempt is bound to fall into cliche Despite the elevated literary sources quoted in the program notes - Thomas Wolfe, Eudora Welty - the piece seems touched more by the kindred spirits of greeting cards and sentimental ballads.

For most of its length Front Porch gets by on its good intentions rather than its own true substance. The last section, though, finally asks movement to speak for itself. Rizzo, who is also the company's most compelling dancer, rattled and shook in frenzied agitation. She embodied the title, "Restless Me," and in deep concentration laid bare a network of frayed nerves.

But TDT is more interested in ideas for dances than in dance itself. Quilts, obviously a labor of love for the company, demonstrated this problem anew. The piece is an homage to quiltmakers and their work. Yet the intricacy and grace of quilting fails to transiate into choreography. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.