banner photo: Glen Fogel
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My sincere thanks go to the dancers: Rebecca Warner, Natalie Green, Athena Malloy, Saúl Ulerio and devynn emory; also to Asli Bulbul and to my collaborators Glen Fogel, Jeffrey Young and Walter Dundervill; also to musicians Lisa Dowling, Hannah Levinson and Mara Mayer and designers Stan Pressner and Ben Hagen. Also great thanks to Carla Peterson, who curated the work, to Ashley Beeler and all the tech crew and producers at New York Live Arts. And a very special thanks to Meredith Boggia.
by RoseAnne Spradlin
by Jeffrey Young
by Glen Fogel
by Walter Dundervill
by Stan Pressner / Ben Hagen
w/ Asli Bulbul
above L to R: devynn emory, Rebecca Warner, Natalie Green, Athena Malloy and Saúl Ulerio; video projections by Glen Fogel
Read the New York Times review
notes on the work
Expressing collective mind and collective force, g-h-o-s-t c-r-o-w-n (working title) explores change and transformation as aspects of non-narrative drama. Sections of the dance are linked to words and images found in hexagrams from the Chinese philosophical text YiJing (I Ching). Examples include the marrying maiden (or concubine), a lake on a mountaintop, darkness of the unconscious, a Legion (doubled), and the beholder's eye...
Section one (#54) quotes steps from Balanchine in a shadowed, vapor-lit ballet for two dancers. Section two (#31), for three dancers, draws eloquently on a post-modern mix of stretched and fleeting steps and wary, elongated glances to map a grid of the performance space.
Section three (#4) projects a feature-length, black and white film, Tao Hua Qi Xue Ji (Peach Blossom Weeps Tears of Blood), by Bu Wancang (Chinese, 1931) fast-forwarded and edited to nine minutes. An onstage sculpture, Something (black) by Glen Fogel, spins and casts streams of ruby light as filmed imagery races by, in this tale of love and betrayal in feudal China.
Sections four and five (#7) are joined. This unaccompanied section of raw endurance develops low kicks, turns, and swerving steps into a weaving, hypnotic dance of rhythmically complex spatial patterns and shouts.
The sixth section (#64) again changes vocabulary; the dancers execute a stripped-down score of minimalist postural shifts along with a recorded vocal score, developed by composer Jeffrey Young and sung by the dancers. Guest Asli Bulbul provides theatrical contrast and mystery by entering the space only in the last section; she traces the perimeter and exits as enigmatically as she entered.
There are lurking sub-texts that haunt the piece: violence against women; class struggle; the mind of the untethered woman or man; the sex-worker, the loner, the artist. These subtexts charge the performance space but remain unexpressed as overt material. g-h-o-s-t c-r-o-w-n (working title) seeks to rattle this transitional space of consciousness, allowing it to move, dance and speak.
In addition to the YiJing, background sources also include the contemporary work Lost Girls, An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker. Ultimately no recognizable text was used in g-h-o-s-t c-r-o-w-n (working title), though the tone and content of the texts influenced structural choices and the emotional tone of the dance.
Jeffrey Young's original score for violin, viola, bass and bass clarinet is played live for the performances. The costumes are by Walter Dundervill; Video projections and sculpture, Something (Black), by Glen Fogel.