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November 18, 1980 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-11-18

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Page 6-

Tuesday, November 18, 1980

The Michigan Daily

Every dance school has its novices,
and the University of Michigan is no
exception, but in the concert at Power
Center on Saturday night, our Dance
Company eventually put its best pair of
feet forward.
STEPS was an unpromising number
to open with. It was by far the worst.
This supposedly experimental piece by
guest artist Gus Solomons was the ar-
chtypical Rewrite That Should Have
Been. Solomons' intent was to translate
"simple geometric patterns "into
movement,- "varying the rhythmic
timings and directions." Too bad there
was so much simpleness and so little
SOLOMONS self-indulgently gave us
every possible numerical permutation
of dancers moving in each possible
direction. Halfway through Steps it was
easy to wish the dancers would just sit
down. Clad in numbered T-shirts and

t dancerk
red gym shorts with lead in their
sneakers, they tromped up and down
and around, the stage shouting various
numbers. Aside from an occasional
smart toss of a ponytail, they looked ex-
tremely bored. Steps can't really be
billed as 'experimental.' In concept,
style, and even costuming, Twyla
Tharp long ago surpassed what
Solomons achieves with this piece.
Like Steps, faculty member Gay
Delanghe's Fugues were at times
tediously repetitious, but this duet was
the most compelling of the Delanghe
works I've seen. Too often in the past
she has become too wrapped up in her
own mysticism, and her dancers seem
confused as to the ulterior meaning of
their movements.
In Little Fugue and Toccata and Big
Fuge, Delanghe primarily celebrated
the vocabulary and spirit of dance
pioneers Doris Humphrey and Jose
Limon. Delanghe has relaxed, and
(surprise!) a coherent philosophy has
emerged. A la Humphrey, the dancers;
slipped into grotesque positions, often
in couples, with satiric playfulness. The
conclusion was choreographically;
Limonesque, with a cluster of lead dan-
cers slowly extending their arms to the1
rafters - hailing new vistas in contem-
porary dance, in human relationships,
in whatever. Through unified
choreography, Delanghe has earned
her bit of affirmative mystery.
I WAS HONORED to have one of the
dancers in Waltzes step on my foot.
Choreographed by faculty member
Susan Matheke, this work actually
began in the Power Center lobby during
intermission. Dancers in flame colored1
chiffon floated down the spiral stair-
cases and flickered through the ad-
miring crowd.
After such an innovative overture,
the central dance was somewhat an-
tclimactic, though gratifying diverse in

s interpret
its steps and rhythms. Matheke incor-
porated a ballroom waltz and even a
hoedown polka, impressing us with the
inexhaustible melting pot of motifs
which contemporary American dan-
cers have at their disposal.
WALTZES showcased some very fine
student dancers. All were poised, and I
saw more evidence of classical ballet
discipline than in previous University
recitals. Henry Van Kuiken is
especially precise and crisp in
Rip was the third faculty premiere of
the evening. Choreographed by Willie
Feuer, it is based on an actual incident
of August 1980, when a fisherman was
drowned in a rip tide near Sandy Point,
Block Island. In its overall rhythm,
ominous mood, and themes of death-by-
water and modern isolation, Rip was
reminiscent of last year's senior recital
piece Waves.
A FEW OF the dancers in Rip were
heavy -on their feet and quite a few
seemed restricted by their graceless
uniforms, a sort of grey polyester
prison suit, tight at the waist and flabby
at the ankles. Despite these flaws, it
was easy to appreciate a dance which Stud
harmonized movements as disparate as rehe
an erratic runner searching for an Ceni
exit, and a final, cautious pacing as the the D
chorus ebbed away in unison from a traditi
single drowning figure. Spar
Peter Sparling's Landscape with Asiand
Bridge eclipsed everything on the arm p
program. This guest choreographer is dance
conspicuously indebted to Martha from c
Graham (he has performed with the the da
Graham Dance Company) without expan
being limited to her influence. In Lan- pull in
dscape the male dancers most often from p
move with erect spines, effecting clean LAN
lines from torso to toe. The female dan- severa
cers tend toward the other extreme of Quarry
Graham's style, swaying fluidly at the Rain,''
waist and hips in the oriental dance nature

faculty works


" " iii

dent dancers Linda Goodrich and Henry Van Kuiken are seen here in
arsal for last weekend's U. of M. Dance Company concert at the Power
ter. The program featured choreographic works by faculty members of
Dance School.
on. describes it, is organically unified
ling draws even more freely on that, these imposed divisions rea
dances, incorporating serpentine aren't crucial.
patterns from Middle Eastern 'Landscape' was aptly cast a
and expressive hand gestures featured Pierre Barreau, who was
lassical dance. We see and feel elegant last year in Carmina Bura
ncers lift seashells to their ears, Each of the eight dancers we
d and contract with the tide, professional, controlled in posture a
fishnets, and pluck ripe fruits balance, with long Grahamesque ext
rimeval gardens. sions. Pierre Barreau was especia
FDSCAPE is articulated into noble in bearing, yet entirely fluent a
al parts and settings: 'The unaffected. Talent like his, which tr
y,' 'The Pine Grove,' 'After the scends the limitations of a stud(
etc. Fortunately, this "hymn to company, made this University prods
's architecture" as Sparling tion.



T4 E
Nov. 20,48ft7 p.m.
Power Center
Tckets at PTP Box Office
Michigan League
Cal 764-0450
MasterCharge or Visa

Milan Stitt's play The Runner Stum-
bles is the playwright's personal gripe
against organized religion. It bitesand
accuses the theological hand that fed
the young Stitt his catechism. The
play's pious Sister Rita expressed the
playwright's disagreement with the
church: "I never question God. Only
what men say in his name," she says.
And Stitt is saying that the stodgy
bishops that try to quell the spirited
Father Rivard and Sister Rita are
inhuman, that they use dogma as more
of a weapon than a tool to the human
The Runner Stumbles is based on a
turn of the century trial in Northern
Michigan of a priest accused of killing a
nun. Rivard, an enigmatic and liberal

father, is banished to the small parish
of Solan for his ideas that the church
hierarchy finds too radical-he regards
human feelings over religious doctrine.
In 1911 social action among church
leaders is a new trend but one that at-
tracts both Rita and Rirard. When Rita
arrives in Solan, Rivard thinks he has
his heretical ideas under control. He is
obsessed with the desire to be a "good
Father," putting the church over his
compassionate ideas. But Sister Rita's
presence wears away at his resolve.
God would want his priests and nuns to
behave humanely, she insists
repeatedly. Rivard tries to crush her
broad-minded zeal and his growing at-
traction to her, but circumstances
bring them closer together until they
must finally confront their love.

over 'Runner'

The first talkie teams up with a musical about the comic problems Gene
Kelly goes through as a star going from silent to sound. Al Jolson will pull at
your heart strings as he goes from chants to Jazz. Kellynand Donald O'Connor
will have you enjoying the rain and running up walls in a burst of crazy-leg
energy. Both films hold onto you like a passionate embrace. Jazz at 7:00
& Rain at 9:00. Lorch.
Wednesday: Gangster Night with PUBLIC ENEMY AND LITTLE CEASAR



THE UPSHOT OF The Runner Stum-
bles is that the big church places God
over people and that's wrong. The
church's authority is embodied in the
character of Monsignor Nicholson, a
cantankerous assistant bishop and
Rivard's superior. He constantly im-
presses upon Rivard that the Father is
viewed as a black sheep by the church
authorities. So Rivard tries to please
He chastises Sister Rita for coun-
seling a young woman whose mother is
on her death bed that it's all right to
cry. "We must separate ourselves from
the world and from chaos," he says.
When Sister Rita and Rivard realize
that they are both in love with each
other Rivard again lets Catholic dogma
get between them and refuses to follow
through with the relationship that he
knows they both crave. Rivard is so
caught up in following his faith that he
takes whatever it brings. And what he
gets is sheer misery.
the ann arbor
F film cooperative
7:00 & 9:00
an opera by:
Menotti 2 -

Stitt writes in a plainspeak that is
rare among 70s and 80s playwrights.
The accessibility of his dialogue is a
thumb at the nose of contemporary
playwrights like Pintner and Shepard
who write more "intellectual" works.
Stitt's 'characters are devoutly single-
minded-stopping just short of
triteness but going far enough to jab
home his point about the church. Could
such a selfless creature as Sister Rita
exist? And isn't Father Rivard too
much of a martyr to make us suspend
our disbelief? Stitt's over-indulgence is
tolerable when we realize that his
characters are more of a vehicle for his
condemnation of religion than
representative of real individuals.
The play alternates between flash-
backs of the growing relationship of
Father Rivard and Sister Rita and
scenes from Rivard's trial. The Ann Ar-
bor Civic Theatre production directed
by Tim Henning is erratic. The perfor-
mances of, Lanney Steele as Father
Rivard and Mia Conde as Sister Rita
save the production from the tactful
"frightfully Bad" label that can be ap-
plied to most AACT shows. Steele is a
dark, brooding Rivard, but Rivard is
too creative for the turn of the century
church and Steele makes you ache for
this man who mutes his intellect for the
- sake of faith. Conde radiates sweetness
and purity but it's never too much. Un-
til she takes off her habit we never
realize how tiny she is. Yet she's an un-
deniable presence-a few inches away
from heaven.
As for the supporting cast, the less
said the better. A few of their pronoun-
-cements are rather clever, especially a
hick- defense attorney who doesn't.
realize that the Holy Roman Church
and Catholicism are related. In the
hands of more capable players their
parts would have been much more ef-

«4Guilini, of course, is
one of the most highly
regarded, even beloved
conductors on the scene
today. Y
Baltimore Sun
Carlo Maria Guilini, Conductor
Los Ap ees
Haydn: Symphony No. 94 in G major
Copland: Quiet City
Verdi: Overture to "La Forza del destino"
Brahms: Symphony No.
SupdayNov. 23 at8:30
II IItriu

$1 -$2 PER DISC




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