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November 03, 1981 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-11-03

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. The Michigan Daily

Tuesday, November 3, 1981


Dancers perform

with finesse

By Lesa Doll

A NAMALGAM of modern dance
classics was presented at the
Power Center Saturday night. The
inimitable Martha Graham dance
company, a technically superlative and
resoundingly stimulating entourage,
performed several pieces from the,
early Graham era as well as a more
recent number to show the
choreographer's maturity.
The corps performed Graham's
required inner energy with finesse, ef-
fectively demonstrating the mortality
and the human emotion that is un-
mistakably essential to her technique.
Graham, who created most of the
works for herself before she restricted
herself to choreography in the late '40s,
is popularly considered the surrogate
mother of American modern dance.
Bored with the once-innovative
Denishawn technique of the '20s,
Graham struck out with her own com-
pany to establish a style so
revolutionary, so cataclysmic that for
years, American choreographers would
attempt to follow her ingenious foot-
Graham, who is almost 90 years old,
is still changing, still growing and still
representing what contemporary dance
should be to a changing society.
The Graham method, above all
reproach, can be considered distinctly
American. Her pioneer philosophy of
delving into the unexplored in dance was
one of the primary breaks from the
adaption of classical ballet from,
Europe. Graham glorifies the inner

conscious by personifying emotion,
while simultaneously creating an irony
for her performers.
Her choreography is not to be used as
a tool for personal expression - rather,
the dancers are molded into non-
entities in order to personify them, to
use them as symbols of human emotion
and deep feeling. Graham surpresses
the self in order to obtain a clearer
image of commonalty, a theme that has
permeated dance since she introduced
it in the '30s.
Graham can be viewed on two dintin-
ct levels: on one, as a lyricist sim-
plistically portraying emotion; and on
the second, as a mythologist telling
astory not for the story's sake, but as an
avenue to portray emotion.
Her lyricism was most beautifully
demonstrated in her 1948 classic Diver-
sion of Angels, the first piece on the
evening's repertoire. Angels, marked
with a recurring theme of angularity
and finely structured stage positioning,
originated from the poem of the same
name by Ben Bellitt.
Its bending, recoiling, and reaching
motion exemplifies that tender, sweet
exhalation of the first moment of love
- a moment of youthful play and even-
tual self-realization. Dancers arms flut-
ter and legs elevate a la seconde as
the heart flutters. The effect is a
graceful, exhalting sense of happiness.
Graham, who is best known for her
clever use of myth to personify
emotion, demonstrates her technique
effectively in Errand Into The Maze, a
1947 choreography that brought her
critical acclaim. Errand, based on the
myth of Theseus and his journey into

Siouxsie Siojix and the Banshees will perform tonight at the
Second Chance.
a The sound and fury
of Siouxsle Sioux

the labyrinth, is an erratic, conflict-
ridden excursion into the subconscious
to confront and destroy the heart's
darkest nemisis, the creature of fear.
The use of mask in this piece hints of
African ritual dance, and yet the often
spastic movements suggest fear. The
performances by principles Yuriko
Kimura and George White Jr. and the
use of amorphous props add to this in-
Cave of the Heart, first performed in
1946, is a supreme example of
Graham's use of greek mythology.
Although Cave portrays the story of the
sorceress Medea and her impassioned
distruction, it is not to be seen as a
romantic ballet, in which a story is con-
veyed through motion.
The story of Medea, the daughter of
the Sun, is used to objectify jealousy
and its results. The dance is extremely
simplistic, as though deliberately at-
tempting to portray an unembellished,
uncomplicated symbol of emotion.
Although not so cleverly
choreographed, and often suffering
from a stylistic repition that is not
necessarily appealing, it represents
Graham's use of myth in its most
meaningful form.
The final production of the show,
Fescoes, is a 1978 choreography that
represents technical maturity even
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though it depends on the myth-to-
personify theme. Fescoes depends on
the interplay between Anthony and
Cleopatra, as well as the gods Isis and
Osiris, to expolore the meaning of mor-
tal and immortal love.
Graham's increasing use of
costuming and props to create egyptian
imagery is worthy of mention. Her
previous dances rely largely on a
barren stage, and these additions, as
well as the utilization of a gorgeous
musical score by Samuel Barber, effec-
tively prove that Graham continues to
enhance her creations, in spite of her
One wonders what was lost when
Graham began assigning younger,
more nubile women to dance the prin-
ciple roles for her. Still, the Graham
dance troupe has continued to improve
something that was once a cultural sh-
ock, and will someday be a legend.

By Mark Dighton

OUXSIE AND the Banshees are
simply the most danceable horror-
show around. And I think you'll find
that, like a great cinematic shocker,
you won't be able to take your eyes off
of them when they appear at Second
Chance tonight.
These folks are no johnny-come-
latelies to the dance craze, though. The
Banshees go way back. Meeting first as
early fans of The Sex Pistols, their
debut album followed close on the heels
of their inspirations' own. The title of
their premier disc, The Scream, was a
more-than-adequate clue to its tone and
content. Each instrument on this disc
was featured in an unrelenting attack
position, putting forth a ringing sound
of unmitigated anguish. Siouxsie's
voice was the most pointed weapon, her
reedy wail breaking through the dense
instrumentation to leave shards of dark
imagery in the listener's mind.
The entire effect was heart-
stoppingly impressive .. nearly as im-
pressive as it was grating, as a matter
of fact. While almost unequalled in per-
suasive extra-rational doom-saying,
The Scream was largely unlistenable
except in the most extreme moods.
- However, over their next three
albums (the latest, juju, tpe only one
released stateside) The Banshees have
refined their sound from a forced wail
to a driven roar via a couple of person-,
nel changes.
The new driving force of the band is
drummer Budgie. His enviable ex-
perience (most notably with tribal-
rockers The Slits) allows him to explore
the percussive potential of every song

without straying from the essential
beat. To deny that he is in large part
responsible for The Banshees' dance
club triumphs-"Spellbound" and
"Arabian Nights," both off juju-would
be simply foolish.
However, new guitarist John
McGeoch (former Magaziner) can also
take some of the credit. While Budgie is
largely responsible for their new-found
danceability, it is McGeoch who en-
sures their listenability. It is his
melodic fills and flourishes that provide
the needed foil to Siouxsie's razor-sharp
But as always, it is bassist Steven
Severin and vocalist Siouxsie Sioux that
define The Banshees' sound. Without
changing the basic format, the two new
members have been incorporated into
Severin's and Sioux's vision, their
talents utilized to further the band's
supreme ability to build and shape ten-
sion, manicuring it like a tangible ob-
ject, conquering it for their own uses.
Siouxsie, of course, remains the most
distinctive feature of the band, but this
time her cold wail shows shades of sub-
tlety and soufulness heretofore unex-
pected. No doubt she will also be the
center of attention in their live show,
If I may be so presumptuous, I would
recommend that you not miss this
show, even if this type of music isn't
exactly your cup of tea. The tone of
Siouxsie and the Banshees is so ob-
sessively theatrical that I simply can't
imagine that they will be any less
powerful visually than they are
musically. The sound and fury will be at
Second Chance. Will you?

Sundan ce'


fatalism, humor

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By Tony Corbeill
LAST WEEKEND'S offering by the
'anterbury Loft was representative
of the usual fare presented there: con-
sistenly fine acting in a little-known but
nicely-crafted play. The audience tur-
nout was also typical and much too
small for the worth of the play. This
past weekend the Loft performed Sun.-
Sundance is an unpublished one-act
play by Meir Ribalow, who has had a
number of successful off-Broadway
productions. Ribalow came to Ann Ar-
,bor to answer questins from the
audience after each aerformance.
The play, a fatalistic comic-drama
in the absurdist vein, is set in the
American Old West. The play has five
characters whose names are taken
from actual historical figures; all are
explicit caricatures representing dif-
ferent viewpoints.
For example, Jesse and Hickock, ex-
cellently portrayed by William Sharpe
and James Reynolds, are a pair of gun-
fighters with conflicting reasons for
killing. Jesse is the hedonist, "Killin'
and rapin' " because it feels good, and
Hickock is, the defender of justice, the
moralist who gets no satisfaction from
killing (except for an "ironic self-
realization"). However, he does so only

when he thinks the situation
justifies it.
The Kid is Hickock's opponent, a left-
wing revolutionary out to destroy the
"old order" and replace it with a "new
order" which sounds suspiciously
These characters are contrasted with
the "humble Barkeep" whose only goal
is to remain alive amidst all these
killers by debasing himself as the
situation calls for it.
The important and reassuring thing
about these characters is that they each
have a rationale behind their behavior,
however irrational it may seem. As the
Barkeep says to Jesse and Hickock, he
isn't so awfully afraid of them because
he knows they are rational men with
reasons for their killings.
It would really be terrifying, he says,
in an obvious case of foreshadowing, if
someone killed for no reason at all.
This provides a fitting introduction for
Sundance - the threat to this world of
justifiable actions.
See SUNDANCE, Page 7




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