Performing Arts: Dance
December 21, 2020
Lincoln Center Previews of Guggenheim Works and Process Commissions The Missing Element, Music for the Sole, Ephrat Asherie
One of the unintended consequences for dance during the pandemic has been the necessity of staging and filming dance in new kinds of spaces and in new ways in order to stay visible, survive, and stay relevant. Suddenly, creative staging and skillful video editing have become key to keeping dancers and choreographers working, and a new way of engaging with art emerges.

Lincoln Center is presenting short video previews of Works and Process commissions from vastly different artists and genres, staged in outdoor spaces around Lincoln Center. The new context just adds another dimension to our (and their) experience of the dance.

The Missing Element, a collaboration between beat boxers, break dancers and rappers that was supposed to occur inside the rounded architecture of the Guggenheim, instead is filmed “in the round” around the Lincoln Center fountain.

Four seamlessly filmed sections (Wind—Kenny Urban and Anthony Rodriguez (Invertebrate), Fire—Amit Bhowmick and Joseph Carella (Klassic), Water—Chris Celiz, Gene Shinozaki, and Graham Reese, and Earth—Brian (HallowDreamz) Henry and Neil Meadows (NaPoM) gave us a closeup collage of street and arthouse techniques that we could never experience so intimately seated in a blackbox theater or straining to watch from the Guggenheim rotunda. Like Wim Wenders wonderful film Pina, we feel like we are inside the action, a very different and vastly more intimate experience. Yes, I wanted to see more.

What can be more fun than watching expert tappers while listening to a Brazilian fusion of funk, house, jazz, and Afro-Cuban music? Watching and listening to Music from the Sole with a moving camera that closes up on them, gives us varying degrees of closeups and angles of the performers to look at with the north side of the Lincoln Center plaza, a sunny, cloud filled blue sky, a reflecting pool and Juilliard school in the background adds to the experience. The film amplifies what we can see, hear, and feel as we watch these artists. I wonder, what will seeing them in a more traditional context do to our already heightened experience of the work?

There are so many ways to describe Ephrat Asherie’s work Underscore, but even one word can capture it: JOY. Her clever use of the architecture on the side of the iconic Metropolitan Opera (who hasn’t wanted to sit or jump up into those concrete spaces?) is like the static medieval sculptures in the niches of so many cathedrals suddenly injected with life, color and unbridled energy. Asherie’s work is fun, infectious, creative, pleasing, and serious, and it communicates so much of what dance is: a means to share life, positivity, and community.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY - Nicole Duffy Robertson

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