Magazine article American Theatre

Editor's Note

Magazine article American Theatre

Editor's Note

Article excerpt

DANCERS TALKING? WELL, WHY SHOULDN'T THEY? THAT was the consensus of opinion among those of us watching New York City's burgeoning postmodern dance scene in the late 1970s and the '80s. We'd go to shows by David Gordon, Meredith Monk, Lucinda Childs or Yoshiko Chuma and nobody would blink an eye when the dancers spoke as they moved: Words were just another performance element, another expressive tool, at the inventive choreographer's disposal.

Some 30 years later, the postmodern revolution is part of dance history--and its liberating, boundary-breaching innovations have taken their place in the creative arsenal of today's choreographers. The use of language is, of course, the one such innovation that pushes dance most forcefully toward the realm of theatre--and that's the intersection, the mash-up of forms, that fascinates dance critic Rita Felciano in her richly detailed cover article "Talk to Me." Felciano's longtime beat, the San Francisco Bay Area, is the epicenter for a particular kind of contemporary dance-theatre experimentation--in her words, it's "a mecca for performance by choreographers who dance with words." And language, she demonstrates in bracing evocations of an array of new performances, is the postmodern wild card that intensifies the political, emotional and intellectual import of these artists' work.

Next up in this issue's feature well is another critic's survey--this time of critics themselves. New York-based writer David Cote casts his net north, south, east and west to capture a dozen fellow theatre writers who wield make-or-break influence on the American theatre scene--the kind of influence, he posits, that professional critics may not enjoy much longer. …

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