Making Dances / Taking Chances Series
Robert & Arlene Kogod Theatre
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
The University of Maryland
College Park, Maryland
Saturday, February 28, 2004
by George Jackson
copyright 2004 by George Jackson
published 1 March 2004
the performance proper began, a tiny toy tank attracted attention. Around
in a circle it rolled, making a whirring noise. Other paraphernalia apparent
right away were four strings suspended from the ceiling, four stools to
each of which a reproduction of a famous portrait of a woman was attached
and, standing in a niche, a statue of the Madonna and Christ child that
was a little larger than life. The floor of the space (the Kogod is a
black box theater) had a layer of brown wood chips.
There were four dancers, all female, plus one male performer designated
an actor. The dancers wore black dresses bedribbled with white that looked
too tight. Fashion-wise imagine a fusion of waitresses' uniforms, prison
matrons' gowns and the sort of suits Stalin's henchwomen wore to conferences.
The actor kept changing his costume, starting out in a simple, "biblical"
The dancers did varied moves—walks, runs, rolls, hugs, tussles—things
taught in contemporary movement classes or generated in contact and improv
sessions. Pacing, too, differed from section to section. Despite the diverse
steps and speeds, the dancing looked remarkably uniform from beginning
to end because of its texture. Movement, almost every motion, was blunt
and tough. Nothing was allowed to become refined, and nothing became so
by chance—including the ending when the women had discarded their
horrid dresses. Clad in slips, they stood high on their stools and again
the image generated seemed obvious and crude. So much for pedestals!
The actor's role was that of a priestling who tried to impose a ritual
context on the women's activities. His manner was soft and smooth, quite
blandly so, providing no real contrast to the women's roughhouse. The
background included additional visuals (film, spray, lighting) and sounds
(music, chant, noise). Conception and choreography were by Zoltan Nagy*,
designs by Pegi Marshall-Amudsen. The duration was almost an hour.
in folkdance and contemporary dance, Nagy has previously presented work
in the Netherlands, Britain, Poland, Switzerland, Latvia, Kazakhstan,
his native Hungary as well as in New York and Washington. He has received
awards, including The Yard's 2003 Bessie Schoenberg Award for choreography.
He is currently enrolled at the University oif Maryland in the Master
of Fine Arts degree program.
Volume 2, Number 9
March 1, 2004
Jean Battey Lewis
Sali Ann Kriegsman
Alexandra Tomalonis (Editor)
site is the online supplement to DanceView,
a quarterly review of dance published since 1979.
is available by subscription ONLY. Don't miss it. It's a good
read. Black and white, 48 pages, no ads. Subscribe