writers on dancing

The DanceView Times, New York edition

Letter from New York

22 December 2003.
Copyright ©2003 by Mindy Aloff

Aszure Barton, a choreographer born in Canada who has performed widely in Europe and who is a winner of the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s National Choreographic Competition, made an absolutely sensational New York debut at the Joyce SoHo last weekend with a Manhattan première of a suite entitled, with an overload of ingenuity, "Mais We," in 22 soles. Don’t let her ill-advised titles stop you from taking her seriously: this is the Arshile Gorky of choreographers. She can make dances in the spirit—and using the technical procedures—of any major choreographer you can think of, and she still conveys the impression of being a distinct original. Her tone is dark: vexed, grieving, sometimes sardonic. But, my God, it’s a dance tone. Her company of youngsters, many of them also native Canadians, is out-of-this-world wonderful, too, each a distinctive Guarnerius or Strad. The score, as you’ll see in the casting below, is a motley arrangement from sources far and wide; indeed, the only flaw I can point to in the half-hour suite is that there are so many rich, compelling dances that the whole is difficult to absorb on one viewing. Still, every section is a miniature dance essay, whole unto itself, and every one presents its dancers as characters-in-the-making, passing through emotional tones and structural astonishments at warp speed. When the group of 11 (Barton among them), costumed in long, black coats with white cuffs reminiscent of pilgrim garb, instantaneously assembled for a passage in which their swaying, grapevine-like unison steps transformed them into one, huge censer, swinging from wall to wall, I thought that the audience was going to explode from its seats. Aszure Barton, where have you been? Where are you going? And when will you come back? The art of choreography needs you. –Mindy Aloff

ASzURe & Artists
11-14 December 2003
Joyce SoHo

Artistic Director and Choreographer: Aszure Barton
Lighting Designer: Daniel Ranger
Costume Designer: Deanna Berg
Dancers: Chèrice Barton, Lesley Kennedy, Peter Chu, Tamara Dyke, Charissa Barton, Chesaré Hardy, Éric Beauchesne, William Briscoe, Banning Roberts, Victoria Lundell, Aszure Barton

places please. . .
Choreographed with the dancers
Music: Raymond Scott

Mikazaru, Mizaru, Mazaru
Sound Design: Aszure Barton
Sound Technician: Stephen Petrilli

First Variation:
Music: Peter Kowald with GrÜner Mori
Dancer: Banning Roberts

Second Variation:
Music: Gregorio Gustafsson Nordeso
Dancer: Lesley Kennedy

Third Variation:
Music: Peter Kowald Werner Ludi, Butch Morris, Sainkho Namtchylak
Dancer: Chèrice Barton

“Mais We,” in 22 soles*
Costumes: Aszure Barton and Deanna Berg
Sound Design: Aszure Barton
Sound Technician: Stephen Petrilli
Music [as listed in the program]: Tonga and Elleipseis (Imaginary tongue) / Rumelaj (Traditional Hungarian Rom)** / Maha te Song with Maria Pia De Vito (Traditional Chant of Rapa Iti), Faraualla; Poem I and The Detached (extracts) by Maya Angelou; Comic Strip and Pauvre Lola, Serge Gainsburg; Pigs, Sheep & Wolves, Paul Simon; Sange (Japanese drum and chant), Kodo; excerpts of Metumji Iaren (Suya Indians of Mato Grosso) and 15 variacoes de Hai Nai Hai (Nambikawara Indians of Guapore), Marlui Miranda + Grupo Beigi
Dancers: the company

* According to a company press release, a similar-sounding dance by Barton, called “Mais We,” in 18 soles, was performed at the Williamsburg Art neXus (WAX) in Brooklyn, in December 2002, on a shared program with choreographers Nell Breyer and Robert Battle, called “Assorted Goods.” However, a 2002 Flash Review of “Assorted Goods” by Darrah Carr for The Dance Insider speaks of Mais We, in 20 Soles.

** In The Village Voice of 9-15 July 2003, Paroma Basu reviewed Aszure Barton in this solo, alone, from a May 2003 concert of 14 young choreographers, called “Joyce SoHo Presents: 12 Works Exploring a Range of Worlds.”

Originally published:
Volume 1, Number 13
December 22, 2003

Copyright ©2003 by Mndy Aloff



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The Autumn DanceView is out:

New York City Ballet's Spring 2003 season reviewed by Gia Kourlas

An interview with the Kirov Ballet's Daria Pavlenko by Marc Haegeman

Reviews of San Francisco Ballet (by Rita Felciano) and Paris Opera Ballet (by Carol Pardo)

The ballet tradition at the Metropolitan Opera (by Elaine Machleder)

Reports from London (Jane Simpson) and the Bay Area (Rita Felciano).

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last updated on December 15, 2003