Monday, March 26, 2007

Witz HAS NO FREAKIN IDEA if he Pickz: Modern Dance

Every now and then you encounter something in your life that just straight up baffles you. No matter how many opinion on music, film, literature, shampoo, japanese cities, or pigeons you have, there is bound to be something that makes even the most casual opinionated jackass stop and wonder what the hell just happened. This weekend, this opinionated jackass was stumped by Modern Dance.

After deciding I needed to do more things, I bought four tickets (because 3 people were coming with me, not because I'm uber-obese) to The Spektrum Group's performance of Never-Mind, a modern dance performance set to the music of Nirvana. At least I thought that's what it was. Instead, we received a night I don't think any of us will soon forget.

It kicked off with us getting there just before the show was supposed to start and taking our amazing center balcony seats with the most leg-room in the house. A woman who I have to assume was only posing as an usher, directed us to our seats (INDIVIDUALLY, as if we didn't know each other and sit next to each other-- we all got the FULL ON directions for how to walk straight ahead and sit down) where we were very impressed with the view and room it afforded. About ten minutes later (with the balcony section almost entirely empty I might add), the faux-usher hustled over to us saying, "Now see, you're in row J, which is up there, please move to your seats." Confused, we replied,

"Nono, we're in F."
"Oh. Well this is A, so row F would be--"
"--No. Row A is down there (gesturing to the 5 rows in the lower balcony section), this is row F (gesturing to the giant F at the end of the aisle)."
"--But...I-- Alright," and she walked away. BAFFLING.

After that fun encounter, the show began with two opening acts. I didn't know modern dance had opening acts, but apparently they do. In this case, the same group performed two other pieces set to other atypical soundtracks. The first one was actually very cool. Three graffiti artists tagged huge sheets of paper in the background while the dancers performed a hip-hop influenced routine to Mystikal songs. Apparently there was a story, but I'm pretty sure it just had to do with crack-whores and beating crack-whores. They itched a lot. It looked neat.

So when that came to a close and intermission struck, we were in a slightly less confused, jollier mood. We goofed around and then the second piece began. It was like being ten years old in church again. The set design was awesome, but suddenly four identical women were spasming around on stage for far too long. A near naked man joined them on stage, shaking and spasming as if he were poisoned. My ten year old self put the story together: "They're spiders and he's caught in their web and dying." So I went with that. Each spider kept trying to make sexy-time with the man, who would then convulse and collapse. "Can't be sexing it with spiders," I thought and remembered once again that spiders scare me. The guy kept running away from this one spider who was constantly throwing herself around the stage and shaking insanely before collapsing and doing it all again. I started giggling to myself as I finally came up with the moral of the story: Nobody wants to bang the crazy spider. Good lesson. As the minutes wore on, it was clear that not many people in my general region were enjoying this, and we were all one eye-catching away from a total laughing fit, so I made sure to stare straight ahead, only occasionaly laughing ridiculously, and then hoping nobody saw. When the piece ended, my friend summed up the general feeling: I don't think I'll be running out to buy the new Mio Morales album anytime soon. True.

Here's a funny part-- the story turned out to be about the Wilis-- women who died before their wedding night, who haunt men who cheat on them or something and apparently dance boringly for twenty minutes in order to kill him. Sooooooo no spiders involved. My bad.

Finally, the main piece was ready to go. The curtain rises aaaand--

Why the hell are people dressed up as Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love onstage? Oh crap.

Oh crap.
Oh crap.
Oh crap.

Ya see, in my mind, a modern dance performance set to the music of Nirvana meant that I was going to see a bunch of music video-like performances. Sychronized modern dance to cool music instead of Stravinsky. It didn't mean I was going to see a story told to me IN COSTUME with actions being performed as they are spoken about in songs. That sounds like interpretive dance to me, and THAT is not something I wished to partake in. So my heart sank as Kurt moped around on stage and Courtney stomped around and they both did heroine. It was basically 30 minutes of dancers telling me,. "Courtney and Kurt fought, they did a lot of drugs, they itched themselves, and then he killed himself." What I learned from the performance was that watching someone fake do heroine does not make for an interesting performance. And then something else occurred to me: Between this, the Gus Van Sant movie about Kurt's last days, and most documentary footage I've seen, Kurt Cobain was one amazing artist that was BORING AS SHIT when he wasn't performing. There is far too much presentation of his static depression out there right now. We all get it-- we understand his plight. But holy crap, I don't need to see a drugged up, depressed guy do NOTHING for any amount of time. Music = interesting. Watching a guy dressed up like Kurt Cobain do nothing = boring.

So what do I think of modern dance? I have no idea. Was that modern dance? They certainly danced, I know that much. But was that modernly or was it interpretively? Is interpretively a word? See how many questions I have? I have to say that at some points I thought, "that's like me when I'm joke dancing to make fun of So You Think You Can Dance or another tv dancing show." On the other hand, they do it well, but does that make it dancing just because they can flop on the ground with a full leg extension? I'd like somebody uninvolved to make this decision for me, like Tim Allen or David Lee Roth. The Mystikal part was very interesting and cool, but the Nirvana part was very tacky and kitsch. I'm not sure I would feel proud of Seattle for having put on such a performance. Ultimately, I think The Spektrum Dance Group did some interesting work that I was glad I saw, but would not go back to see. I would rather flop around on the ground with a camera on, watch it myself, and then send the tape to Will Farrell in the hopes of getting a movie deal.


1 comment:

Cindy Bean said...

Modern dancing makes me feel angry.