Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Theater Program Shows How Opposites Attract

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Theater Program Shows How Opposites Attract

Article excerpt

Psychology has its numerology, and the number is usually two - subject and object, self and other, male and female, image and reflection. And innumerable others.

The core of the Gash/Voigt Dance Theatre of St. Louis, is a pair of dancers, Susan Gash and Beckah Voigt. The substance of much of their work, as evidenced by a retrospective concert this past weekend at the Grandel Theatre, is a set of continual variations on the possibilities of two dancers representing the dualities of the psyche.

"The Long Wait," from 1989, and excerpts from "Panacea," from 1993, are the most explicit examples. Together they represent the two poles of "dance theater." The earlier work, based on the historical figure of Cassandra, is more about dance; the latter, an exploration of terminal illness, is more about theater. But ultimately both explore how two dancers, by moving in tandem or parallel, or as a composite figure, or in contrasting ways, can play out the endless drama of outer and inner life - especially the terrifying rebellions of the latter against the former. The stage characters of Gash and Voigt make an effective contrast. Voigt's strongest passages suggested the ego in crisis, a pose, glamorous or affected, about to dissolve. Gash, on the other hand, lunges directly into an emotion, writhing on the floor, clutching at objects, perpetually naked in her responses. And thus the two poles of a common conception of femininity - women as passive and proper, or as dangerously hysterical. Charlotte Perkins Gilman seems to haunt serious works such as "Panacea." They are very different works. "Panacea" is oppressively dark, built around a few stark images and ideas - regression, the breaking of threads and contact with life. "The Long Wait" is more a question of movement, though it certainly doesn't skirt the usual tropes of Cassandra: prophecy, madness and the futility of artistic expression. …

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