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March 11, 1981 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-03-11

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Wednesday, March 11, 1981

Page 5

AL VINAILEY:

Skill but nopaos

By JULIE EDELSON
Alvin Ailey's dance company will be
at the Power Center for the Performing
0Arts one more show tonight. The group
has been drawing their usual devoted
crowd, butr.the less than professional
performance Monday night was only
somewhat deserving of the over-
whelming applause.
Alvin Ailey is a troupe that combines
ballet technique with modern dance
theory to create an unconventional typ-
e 'of movement. Their performance
Monday night started off rather drably,
tiut fortunately they were able to over-
*orIe their problems by the finale.
VTHE FIRST PIECE, "Phases,".was
divided into four parts. The opening
number, "Astral Traveling," featured
the entire company. The dancing con-
taiped a graceful ease, but it quickly
became monotonous. The dancers
didn't appear to be enveloped in their
actions; they simply performed the
combinations, void of emotion.
In "Thembi," the second movement,
a sexy, sultry duet to music by Pharoh
Sanders, the movements were again
smooth. Maxine Sherman, the soloist, is
light as a bird, but the overall ex-
citement was missing. The body dan-
ced but the face didn't.
"Making It," on the other hand,
teemed with emotion thanks to the
presence of Marilyn Banks. Banks was
full of pep and vitality in this cutsie jazz'
duet. Unfortunately her partner,
Masazumi Chaya, was dull in com-
parison, and even though their
movements were beautifully syn-
chronized, his drab appearance made
for an unfulfilling performance.
IN 'IT'S TIME,' the final movement,
soloist Dudley Williams was dressed in
purple, but this vivid color did not mat-
ch his personality. He needed to have a
more confident aura to overcome the
lack of complicated combinations and
the minimal movement in the
choreography. Instead, he seemed to
fumble on stage, and it provided an
inept conclusion to the first dance.
The second dance manages to
retrieve what has been lost after
"Phases." "The Still Point," which
deals with male/female relationships

A 2catches
By RJ SMITH
Two messages stick in my mind from
Monday's Steel Pulse concert. First,
listening to their song "Babylon Makes
All the Rules," I couldn't help but think
about how much, how fast things are
changing here.
To many black Jamaicans, even
transported ones like Steel Pulse who
come to us. by way of Birmingham,
England, "Babylon" means the
Western influence on Jamaican society.
It's an influence that's helped lead to a
Jamaican lifestyle many endure
beneath a flurry of gunfire, to a gover-
nment inexorably corrupt. "Babylon
Makes All the Rules" is a grim remin-
der about who has power and who Steel Pi
doesn't, which in month two of casionally ski
Reaganwatch has more meaning than the edge of a r
ever to people on this side of the Atlan- But no m
tic. metrnn o- C

reggc

ulse guitarist Basil
ewered as it crawls over
razor blade.
atter how tortured a
el lad iC thae dveW

Alvin Ailey's dance company performs one of its innovative works at the
Power Center Monday night. The troup will appear again tonight at 8 p.m.

had every indication of being classical:
women in white, music by Claude
Debussy, and precise technique. The
piece was highly emotional-con-
trasting feelings of hatred, jealousy,
and love can all be portrayed.
From the standpoint of pure classical
dancing, "The Still Point" was ex-
cellent. The pas de deux was ex-
ceptional, the dancers blended har-
moniously, and their extensions were
exquisite. The company still failed to
excite us through the contrast of
emotions, but the soloist, Sara Yar-
borough, was superior in this respect,
particularly in her interaction with her
two male partners. In the final, tender
love scene she illustrated her conflic-
ting feelings of denial and acceptance.
The implied sexuality between her and
her partner is shown beautifully
through suggestive gestures in their-
pas de deux.
"THE TIME Before The Time After"
was an exceptionally original duet. The
technique here is clearly modern, and
the dancers parallel sharp movements
to sharp music (by Stravinsky). Male

and female moved well together.
The final number, "Suite Otis," is
true palvation for the company. This
dance had both characteristics of ex-
cellence: faultless technique and
strong emotional involvement. We saw
young men and women doing what they
like to do best: flirting, fighting, and
making up. The mood was relaxed and
so were the dancers. They excited us
with antics including cheek to cheek
dancing, women getting upset at
"fresh" men, and passionate ex-
changes. The technique of talking on
stage was also utilized, and this con-
tributed essential variety to the scene.
It was refreshing - Alvin Ailey ob-
viously saved the best for last.
If Ailey could trim the edges on his
program and excite his dancers in
everything they perform, then we
would see some really stupendous dan-
cing. They certainly have the ability to
perform for us, and as it is, the com-
pany has an exceptional reputation.
Perhaps, having already made a name
for themselves, they are less-inspired
and ambitious than before, and don't
feel the need to put forth the effort.

But so does a sign one of the members
of the group held up over the audience.
"Nyabhing: - down to black and white
oppressors," it exclaimed.
"Nyabhingi" in its original Jamaican
usage was a promise of victory, and it
too has increasing significance to those
living in this sufferer's time.
TRIAL AND TRIUMPH. They're at
the center of Steel Pulse's attack, and
are defined over and over in the songs.
The band has an unusually concise
reggae sound, which onstage is built
around Basil's jangly, snaking lead
guitar and the supremely physical beat
of drumming. They weren't at all
businesslike, but the effortless way
they carried the whole show off on
Monday was weird - the concert un-
folded with surprisingly little sweat. It
was as if the songs of hardship and
plans for victory were singing them-
selves.
A word should be said about the I-
tals, the unit which opened up in capital
fashion for Steel Pulse. Who would have
thought that, spare Pere Ubu,there
would be anything so cultural in
Cleveland since the Salvadore Dali
museum packed it up? This eight-
person sexually and racially integrated
unit had a singer who evoked the mid-
dle-range of Dennis Brown. Best of all
was their playfulness with the rhythm;
after some initial woodenness they
started filling up their extended jam-
ming with brief bursts of polyrhythms
and quick little stops and starts - it
was like the fluid motion of a worm oc-

pAW rAuw1ve an 1 Lnesen ays, its
in a whole different realm from Steel
Pulse's United Kingdom. Steel Pulse
draws from the visions of repression
and rebellion that come from Jamaican
reggae, but it corrsponds neatly to their
own experience. Thatcherland is a
shambles nowadays, the cruel effects of
Friedmanomics boosting unem-
ployment and shaping a frightening
welfare morass. Fascist political
groups like the National Front feed off
the peoples' depression mentality; last
night's racial violence is always part of
somebody's morning news.
ONSTAGE, STEEL PULSE displays
a depth of strategic toughness and a
convincing transcendental ambiance.
There isn't as much grit as in other

aefever
reggae styles, but there is a firmness
and conviction in their lyrics, in the
way their harmonies shine like light
bouncing off a jackknife.
It was there in political songs about
the K.K.K. and Soledad Brother George
Jackson; in quite another way, one
could sense their strength in anthems
like "Sound System" and "Reggae
Fever."
But what the audience picked up on
most, I thlink, was the way the group
conveyed onstage the vision of a better
world that is so evident in their records.
As the set wore on, and the bodies grin-
ded on and on all over the dance floor,
the group started to loosen up and ex-
posed the rhythmic texture always just
cracking the surface in the shorter and
more concise album cuts. It was that
texture that I remember most of all;
how it comes forth with something,'as
sustenant as anything conveyed in their
lyrics, how it seems apart from any
words imaginable.
HEAU MEDIA COMPANY
presents
a multi-media concert
L;r ymiag G
WhhteLke
Tonight thru Sat. - 8:00 pm.
MENDELSSOHN THEATRE
in the Michigan League
Spesieusts: THE BANNED
Tickets $3 reserved at: Box Office
Call 763-1085

I
P

UM
SHOWCASE
RODUCTION

N

All The Way
Home
BY TAD MOSEL
MARCH 11-14 8 PM
TRUEBLOOD THEATRE

TICKETS

AT PT P

764 -0450

Redefining woman's work

By NANCY GABIN
The Life and Times of Rosie the
Riveter, which had its Ann Arbor
premiere on Sunday, March 10 tends to
underplay the complex relationship
between ideology and propaganda and
women's attitudes and behavior in or-
der to make a simpler and more
dramatic statement about the con-
sedquences of racism and sexism for
working women.
It is an important film, however,
because it raises serious questions
about the reasons women enter the
labor force and their experiences on-
ce they are working. Insightful,
engaging, and entertaining, it provides
a perspective on women's experience
during World Was II that has generally
been overlooked in conventional
historical accounts.
THE SYMBOL of American working
women during World Was II is the sub-
ject of The Life and Times of Rosie the
Riveter. Contrasting the image of Rosie
as depicted in recruitment films, stills,
postersm ads, and,music of the period
with actual experiences of five
"Rosies" who worked in war produc-
tion in major American cities, the film
examines, the relationship between
,ideology and social reality in women's
lives.
According to the myth, Rosie respon-
ded to the nation's urgent need for labor
by leaving her comfortable home and
entering the unfamiliar world of wage
work in the munitions plants and

shipyards. Remaining committed to
traditional values, she worked solely
for patriotic reasons and expected to
surrender her job to a male relative or
sweetheart when he returned from
overseas. Then she would resume her
appropriate and customary role as
housewife and mother once the war was
over.
Because Rosie's commitment to her
job stemmed more from her sense of
patriotism than from her economic
need, the image of her as the typical
woman war worker confirmed rather
than challenged the popular belief that
women belonged in the home. The five
women in "Rosie the Riveter",
however, like many of their real-life
counterparts, had worked before the
war in low-paid, largely unorganized,
traditionally female jobs.
THE WOMAN earning more money
in one day than they had once earned in
a week, gained a new sense of
fulfillment in their work as welders,
burners, and riveters, and experienced
the benefits and advantages of trade
union membership. They viewed their
wartime employment in defense plants
not as a temporary improvement in
their lives as workers.
The film illuminates the contrast
between the myth of Rosie the Riveter
and the reality it ignored or concealed.
Wage differentials based on race and
sex rather than job content were com-
monplace. Men often responded with
hostility to the entrance of women into
formerly all-male plants, regarding

them as interlopers, competitors, and
daily reminders of the war.
Besides the in-plant problems of
racism and sexism, the popular image
of Rosie the Riveter could not account
for the difficulties experienced by
women who shouldered domestic
responsibilities in addition to ten hour
factory shifts for six days or nights out
of seven.
Women were both praised for their
contribution to the war effort and un-
fairly blamed for production fall-offs
and servicemen's deaths. The high
rates of absenteeism among women
workers, however, were a consequence
not of their laziness or lack of
patriotism but of the demands placed
on them as wives and mothers.
'ACCORDING TO the myth, Rosie
gladly returned home after V-J Day.
The women in the film and many others
like them were less fortunate. Gladys
Belcher, a widow, had enjoyed and ex-

celled at her job as a welder and had
taken additional training courses
during her off-hours in anticipation of
the postwar period. After the war,
however, her skills were no longer
required and the only job she could find
was that of a cook in a cafeteria.
Rosie the Riveter was presented as a
benefit for the Twentieth Century
Trade Union Woman Oral History
Project as part of the Program on
Women and Work at the Institute of In-
dustrial and Labor Relations. Money
from the benefit will be used to conduct
interviews with women involved in
babor unions during the early 1900's.
MANN THEATRES
VILLAGE 4
375 N MAPLE
769-1300
Daily Discount Matinees
Tuesday Buck Day
All seats $1.00
Nominated for 6 ACADEMY
AWARDS including
BEST PICTURE
BEST DIRECTOR
As timely today
as the day it
was written.

--I
At
Screenings at theMichgan Theatre: 7:0019:0 & 11:00 P.M.
Sa turday: 1:00, 7:00 & 9:00 p.m. All prog rams are dif ferent
and of substantially equal quality. Awa rd winners sc reened
Sunday a t 7:00, 9:00 & 11:00 p.m. Single admission: $2.00.
Daily series: $5.00 (not available Sunday). Advance sales begin
a t 6:00 p.m. for that day only. $20.00 series ticket$ on sale the
opening day of the Festival at 5:30 p.m. AlI tickets are sold at
the Michigan Theatre.

.:

I

1!

The U-M' Professional Theatre Program Michigan Ensemble Theatre
Ann Arbor's Own
Resident Professional Theatre Company
DEBUT PRODUCT ION

NDUAL THEATRES
Melvn R.
(OW H(m)
(ad Hwward)
DAILY-7:25, 9:15
WED -1.45 3:35,5:35 7.25, 915
ACADEMY AWARD
NOMINATIONS
/tf(PG)

A ROMAN POLANSKI FILM
A COLUMBIA
SPICTURES RELEASE

1:15
4:30
8:00

Nominated for
2 ACADEMY AWARDS
Nothing's going to
stand in your way.
74tee __ n% a i

1. RICHAPD
DREYRJSS
AMY ,
IRVING l
A COLUMBIA PICTURES RELEASE P

1:45
4:15
7:15
9:45

Nominated for
6 ACADEMY AWARDS

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