Performing Arts: Dance
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 again.

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

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