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June 17, 1976 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1976-06-17

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r Ent rta in ent STHE MICHIxGThursday, June 17, 1976
Ark floats away on
waters of disinterest '

By JOAN BORUS
[T COMES as something of
a shock to write that last
Sunday's benefit concert at Pow-
er Center failed to measure up
to the Ark's usually high stand-
ards. It wasn't so mtich a ques-
tion of musical deficiency-with
a few notable exceptions the
caliber was quite good.
Rather the concert's failure
stemmed from its faulty con-
struction - its uneven timing,
lack of cohesion and sometimes
tenuous interactions between the
master of ceremoies and sched-
uled performer. Nut only was
there a wide discrepency be-
tween the afternoon and eve-
ning performances, but when
taken as a whole, the concert
simply failed to hang together.
Most of the blame, unfortu-
nately, rests with the evening
concert, which featured David
Amram as master of ceremon-
ies as well as the scheduled
ao-earance of Rambling Jack
Elliott, who was orobably re-
sponsible for drawing in many
people.
AS IS OFTEN the case, Ramb-
ling Jack failed to appear at
all, and that had a disastrous
effect upon the concert's entire
character.
First of all, it, meant that
David Amram took on a much
more predominant role as mas-
ter of ceremonies than his prede-
cessor Owen McBride had had
to do for the afternoon show.
It was up to him to stretch
out the show and stall for time
and he succeeded in doing just
that: in fact, he succeeded too
well.
Amram was miscast in his
role: under normal circ'mstanc-
es he has a strong, persuasive
personality, and the difficulties
imoosed by Rambling Jack only
accentuated Amram's potency
until it was lethal. Not only is
Amram a terrible ham, but in
his desire to please and his

eagerness to get the audience in-
volved, he overdid it. He has
developed a running patter and
a slick style of delivery rem-
iniscent of a nightclub act, :vhich
could have worked quite wall in
a large setting like Power's,
but still came through as be-
ing insincere.
AMRAM'S gaucheries can be
f>rgiven because it was still nos-
sible to sense his good intent;
.lohn Prine's, however, cannot.
The weakest act of the after-
noon performance, he was re-
sponsible for some of the worst
moments during the evening.
First of all, Prine's performing
style was practically guaran-
teed to put off all save hard-
core fans. His nervous posturing,
which can only be described as
advanced toe-dancing, not only
detracted from his singing, but,
as those near the front can at-
test, made people dizzy.
At first, I tended to feel sorry
for Prine, who was obviously not
having one of his better nights.
However, I soon realized that
Prine was ego-tripping from his
own incompetency; with each
number he got worse and worse,
until he finally stopped putting
forth any effort at all. Such an
attitude not only makes for a
bad performance but conveys a
tremendous disrespect for the
audience as well.
WHAT WAS particularly ob-
jectionable in this situation was
that Prine felt he could allow
himself the luxury of doing less
than his best when the other
performers involved felt an ob-
ligation to do well because of
what it would mean in terms of
the Ark's future.
Prine's status acted as a nega-
tive rather than a positive fac-
tor, both on and offstage. He
reo'ired different stage setting
and special lighting, which
created a sense of separation
from the other performers.

Backstage, his road manager in-
sisted on herding him away
from general access and from
mixing too much with the other
musicians, regrettable and un-
necessary occurences in a con-
cert intended to promote an
egalitarian spirit.
If the evening concert was
marred and overlong, the after-
noon concert was delightful and
to the point. Gwen McBride, in
addition to being a well-known
Irish folk singer with a solid
reputation, is a businessman and
he ran his show with admirable
efficiency. Even the recalcitrant
Leon Redbone played within his
allotted time space. Unlike Am-
ram, McBride kept himself
firmly in the background.
He knew how to set the audi-
ence up for each act, giving just
enough subtle commentary to
show each performer off to best
advantage, which was in marked
contrast to Amram's grandiose
descriptions that often left the
performer as well as the audi-
ence a little bewildered. My
only complaint is that I think
McBride took his duties just a
little too seriously - the sape
of the afternoon concert would
have been enhanced with great-
er participation from him.
ANOTHER person whom I
wanted to see more of was
Diana Marcovitz. Though she
has appeared regularly at the
Ark for the past two years, I
had never seen her, probably
because she had been billed as
"the queen of glitter folk,"
which ,aroused my inherent dis-
trust. However, my suspicions
were unfounded; she's a little
crazy, certainly out of the or-
dinary, but she's terrific.
Marcovitz is a folk come-
dienne whose routines offer an
unexpected change from the
usual stand-up comedy act.
While Owen was introducing
her, getting schmaltzier with
See ARK, Page 7

Diana Marcovitz
-- -'U'Dancersontoe
t 1
Dancers on oes

By DEBBIE GALE
MODERN DANCE is gaining
local strength. One does not
have to go to New York to see
a creative, tight performance,
as the University D a n c e r s
p r o v e d Thursday night, Al-
though they lacked the polish
that their guest stars lent to the
show, they made it up in heir
eager ability to follow intelli-
gent choreography.
Susan Rose's Jigsaw confused
the audience by its fragmenta-
tion which was, of course, the
point of the piece. The troupe
moved in s h o r t sequential
events, each a complete unit of
dance barely explored.
These fragments of dances
gave a sketchbook quality to the
piece, especially as it was ac-
companied by verbal notes of
the choreographer. It was an
interesting commentary, punc-
tuated by music and stretches
of silence. The vocal element
was carried out by the croupe
counting out loud, and giving
commands to each other. But
since the dance lacked a sense
of continuity, it was merely a
collection of germinating con-
cepts.
Bergman's Portraits was a
strong dramatic work with sup-
erficial choreography. The cur-
tain rose on Bergman in a
bright red evening gown, stand-
ing on a pedestal, the sex idol.
Another idol, younger on a
more precarious perch, was
totally absorbed in her own
beauty. A jazz chorus in red
bathing suits, danced most se-
ductively and followed the sex
idol whose movements were
contrived and crystalized, off
the stage.
THEN APPEARED the Plain
Girl who longs for the woman-
hood of the others, but was too
conscious of her self-imposed
limitations. She was constantly
touching her face and body, as
if exploring herself in a mirror.

After a sudden lighting change
from sultry red to sunny gold,
Miss Wholesome danced in with
her smiling girls, all in country
cotton. Clearly she was the en-
lightened one, refusing to set
herself up as an idol.
The Waldstein Sonata was
choreographed by oJse Limon
and had plenty of professional
sparkle. Danced by four couples
the male members were of the
Contemporary Dance System)
with superb rhythm, precision,
the piece was very form-con-
scious as befits a sonata. Clas-
sical elements were in abun-
dance, such as use of the circle
and square patterns, bits of folk
dances, motion motifs following
musical themes, all over a
smooth steady flow.
Gregory Ballard gave a crisp,
tight rendition on the piano. The
form of the piano behind the
dancer made an excellent back-
drop. The d a n c e r s adapted
themselves well to this more
traditional worw, showing the
versatility that is one of the
greater virtues in art.
The final work, Diallel by
Martine Epogue, was in true
avant-garde style. Decor sug-
gested a distant planet, accom-
panied by electronic music, and
a slide show. This piece attain-
ed a depth of passion barely
touched in any of the other
dances.
A group of women, dancing
with sharp brittle movements
almost mechanical, seek to
crush the individuality of the
lovers, Sylvie Pinard Lambert
and Phillippe Vita of the Le
Groupe Nouvelle Aire. After a
breathless pas de deux, the wo-
men separate the lovers, setting
up boundaries between the two.
After a tense buildup of despair,
the lovers are suddenly alone
on the stage and run to each
other, united in a great release
of emotion. Attaining a level of
sculpted movement, Lambert
and Vita gave up an idea of
what the University Dancers
might someday achieve.

Leon Redbone

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