October 5, 2013
“A Rite,” a full-length collaboration between two icons, Bill T. Jones /Arnie Zane Dance Company and
Anne Bogart and her SITI company, opened at BAM’s Next Wave Festival on October 3.
This is not Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring “but rather an exhilarating meditation on the cultural and
historical upheavals in early 20th century and their 21st century reverberations. Composed of
chards and references to the past, the piece raises a series of questions. “What is it about that
particular night?” Ellen Lauren, portraying a music professor, asks about the famous opening night of
Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” but equally important, what lessons carry over to us today?
The lessons of war for one and the lasting effects on the veterans of all wars. SITI’s Will Bond plays a
shell -shocked soldier returned from war who tries to soldier on, but whose memories of the horrors
of combat take their toll and he ultimately opens fire on the performers, killing them all - a powerful
image that speaks to the massacres of all wars but also to today’s senseless mass murders.
Nine dancers and six SITI company actors first appear arms raised high as if in an eternal protest
against all things unacceptable in our world.
They break into stomping and jumping , running in and
out, clapping and lifting, as a voice rings out “We’re here because we’re here.” And here they are,
actors dancing and dancers speaking, (dactors as they dubbed themselves), a memorable example
of “two companies making one community” (to quote Anne Bogart).
Stools are tossed around, put
down, sat on and even used as bridges to cross over uncharted territory. There is cacophony and noise
aplenty but also quiet, softer moments of couples walking in pairs, separating and coming together
We are left with a final, indelible image. Will Bond, stage rear, runs forward behind a “curtain” of
black ribbons. He moves with large, determined strides. Perhaps he is running away from all wars
into a future in which generations do not have to be sacrificed.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Philippa Wehle