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March 25, 1982 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-03-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Scott-Heron plays i

By Jill Beiswenger
T HERE'S A lesson to be learned
'about expectations and the context
of a performance. Tuesday night Gil
Scott-Heron and the Midnight Band
played to a packed floor at the Second
Chance. Like, any businessman, and
most successful artists have that very
necessary side to their characters,
Scott-Heron gave the audience just
enough to prove he was the same man
they'd heard on record, butshe did no
radicalizing.. Having witnessed other
performances of his, it was easy to con-
clude that the setting makes a big dif-
ference in what he puts out.
Starting off with "Is That Jazz?"
- Scott-Heron identified the frustration
that comes when a creative act is
analyzed or defined by someone other
than the artist. The basis of creativity is
a celebration of individuality. If the ar-
tist doesn't have the freedom to name
his or her process and is limited to only
certain categories (in Scott-Heron's
case, usually jazz) then the artist's
power is sapped.
At one point the audience's political

Social issues fill
repertoire of sin,

The Michigan Daily-Thursday, March 25, 1982-Page'\
t straight
a musician/poet the audience *s
definitely part of the materials. ite
basic idea that America.is in retret
was there in Scott-Heron's lyrics, but-it
didn't seem worth hearing him 11
without, the, additional underlining'z
g er thenecessity of doing. Cynicism is }ui
more stagnation. The price of adL
mission, to my mind, would have been
gressive, involve- better spent on his latest album, with
was powerful. He the twenty cents left going to pay for tiie
tter perspective of postage on a letter to the state Senatp
e-dominated culture or Representative of your choice. J#t
e audience. He stun- then I'm an idealist.

temperament was tested by prefacing
"Gun" ("Everybody got a pistol ...
When other folks give up theirs I'll give
up mine") with a short comment on the
difference of referring to releasing an
album, as opposed to making one. The
pun on "hostage release," past its im-
mediacy, seemed to get strangled in the
strobe effects on the Chance's crystal
ball. From there, the group went in
quick succession through some of their
most well known songs including: "A
Legend in His Own Mind" ("A macho
man before macho ever came to
town/Only problem was not enough of
him to go around"), "Winter in
America," "Shut Em Down,"
"Aliens," and "Angel Dust."
To university audiences, Scott-Heron
usually presents a radically different
image than the sleepy-eyed and grin-
ning musician of Tuesday night. In

Madison, his pro
yourself message
spoke from the bi
being black in white
to a nearly all-whit

ned into existence an awareness that no
action on the social change and en-
vironmental issues facing us is as good
as strong support of the backward
looking, B-Movie quality of the policies
of our national administration.
In Ann Arbor the man seemed a little
tired of his message. I can't say the
music wasn't hot, though, and the
moderately drunk crowd loved it. Larry,
MacDonald on congas and the keyboard
player Glen Turner made dancing
irresistable-if you could find the room
to, that is.
It's the artist'g perogative to do as
s/he sees fit with the materials, and for

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Daily Photo by KIM HILL.
Gil Scott Heron performed at the Second Chance Tuesday night.

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I ------------

Big Fun and the magic circus

By Walt Owen
IG FUN is not always easy to find.
BMy perpetual search for this fix of
frolic took me to Hill Auditorium
Tuesday night. What I found was a daz-
zling two hours of suspenseful
choreography, provided by the
Chinese magic Circus of Taiwan.
Making a one-night stop on their
current North American tour, the
* rMagic Circus left the captivated faces
of young and old filled with awe and
admiration. The mystic ping-pang of
the Oriental beat provided the mood as
the thirteen dancers and acrobats per-
formed physical feats that brought the,
near-capacity crowd to the edge of their
seats.
The Ed Sullivan Show couldn't miss
with an act like this. After a warm-up
tumbling routine with bodies flying
over and under a bright waving flag,
the Magic Circus followed with one of
the evening'a biggest Big Fun thrills: a
woman balancing head-to-head on
another woman. These two defied
eyesight; a visual blow-out with the

woman on top rotating rings on her out-
stretched arms and legs while the ever-
connected woman on bottom juggled
four more rings in her hands.
Add a roaming spotlight, the
dramatic roll of the kettle drum, and
some brilliant flashes of decorative
color and the magical draw of the cir-
cus shone through; please go on and
amaze me some more, but don't fall
from your precarious pearch.
The acrobats constantly avoided
mistakes in this two-hour spectacle,
fooling the crowd with an occasional
dash of comedy. The comedy was fun;
the acrobatics were Big Fun. Thrill af-
ter thrill hardly allowed time to fully
appreciate each addition to the
mesmirization process. Diving through
a circle of knives may appear a feat of
practiced possibility. Diving through a
rotatingcircle of flaming knives while
blindfolded is another matter. And the
show goes on.
A circus has something for everyone,
and the Magic Circus of Taiwan was no
disappointment. Ten acts on each side
of the brief intermission mixed props

both simple and complex. I still haven't
figured out the levitation act (who wan-
ts to?);- and lifting six bowls off
your head with your feets(while doing a
two-hand extension on a delicately
balanced chair) is something I've never
seen even my wildest friends attempt.
Kurt Thomas with a Big Fun twist.
I, kept doing double-takes, looking
around to see if everyone else was
equally dazzled. The sagging jaws and
popping eyes told the story. The true
magic of this Magic Circus is the near-
incredible physical control of this
troupe. Total concentration mixed with
skillful dexterity brought a
professional gleam to the Magic Circus.
. The acrobats learn these "tricks"
before they can walk. By age fourteen
or fifteen the art is a daily routine. This
devotion is largely a family-oriented
ritual dating back to ancient China; lit-
tle has changed with the passage of
time and trend.-
Watching the crucial interdependen-
ce involved in these acts hints as this
deeply rooted network. This Kung-Fu

demonstrations of brick-breaking (way
beyond the pebble-snatching stage) are
attributed to the cultivation of "'Chi,''
roughly translated as "inner strength"
or "life energy." Let's hope so. Anyone
who puts three bricks on their head and
then allows a man to slam a'
sledgehammer on top better know what
"Chi" power is all about.
This mind over matter technique was
full of acrobatic shake,.rattle, and roll
Tuesday night. Try catching oranges,
thrown from the audience, on a spike
held in your mouth. Try it on a unicycle.
From Little Big Fun to Super Big Fun
(not often available), the Chinese,
magic Circus of Taiwan kept it lively.
* The clincher was when troupe direc-
tor Hai Ken Tsai performed the Tower
of Chairs. A series of chairs belanced on
four wine bottles. Hai Ken climbed
three chairs (uh oh), four chairs (it's
gonna go), and topped it off with a fifth
as he slowly disappeared high above
the stage. So what does he do? A one-
handed vertical handstand. Big time
circus. Big time standing ovation. Big
Fun.

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Penn. Ballet struggles onward

By Ellen Rieser
AMERICAN DANCE lovers were
startled to hear the announcement
on January 14th that due to severe
financial problems, the Pennsylvania
Ballet was suspending production for 90
to 120 days.
Since its founding in 1963, the Pen-
nsylapia Ballet has been frequently
ranked among the top five ballet com-
panies in the United States "and often
considered as the nation's best regional
ballet company. Although its win-
ter/spring home season in Philadelphia
has been cancelled, PBC is still
scheduled to go on its spring tour, in-
Sluding the company's performances at'
-Power Center in April.
Jeff Gribler, a six-year veteran of the
company, and several other dancers
have formed a committee that meets
with Charles Rannells, the new president
and general manager of PBC, to
discuss problems resulting from the,
company's suspension of production.
One&result of the suspension is that
many of PBC's dancers have had to go
on unemployment. Indeed, when
p Gribler was i terviewed he had just
come back from theunemployment of-
fice.
Gribler finds not dancing in
Philadelphia to be "emotionally
frustrating, draining, and frightening."
Nevertheless, Gribler is upbeat about
"the future of the Pennsylvania Ballet
:and. thinks it will survive. While the
company is not currently performing,
according to Gribler, PBC's other
regular activities have continued as
before. "The day after January 14th;
-~company classe was taught as usual.
We've had classe every day since then.
In the unsettling three-day interim
between the company's announcement
on January 14th of the production stop-
page and the anouncement that it would
keep its spring tour,, some of PBC's
dancers scrambled to get temporary,
positions. Commented Gribler sym-
pathetically, "You know, this is a very
uncertain business."
As a result of the scare, one of PBC's
male dancers is now working in Europe
for three months. Gribler himself

recently returned from doing guest ar-
tist work with the San Antonio Ballet.
PBC's financial. problems, Gribler
doesn't expect positions to be cut for next
year.
Although there may be some cut-
backs in PBC's school, Gribler feels
that the apprenticeship program, which
feeds into the company, will be com-
pletely retained. "We had eight (ap-
prentices) last year, which was a little
too big to work with. This year we have
five, whicb is a little too small."
Suspicion has been voiced by some in
the dance community that PBC's finan-
cial difficulties will encourage the
company's board to become involved in
artistic direction. In a few financially
strapped companies, board control
over productions has resulted in
seasons composed entirely of ballet
war-horses and saccharine overdoses
of Nutcrackers. However, Gribler is
not worried: "I don't think the board
wants to get involved in artisitic direc-
tion. They just want to know funding is
available and how the money is spent.
In terms of the repertoire, the board

will decide how often we get new pieces
and what kind - how large. We
probably won't be doing any m6re full
length ballets for a long time."
Right now, the entire company is
working to keep PBC afloat. The board
is out fund raising while Gribler and the
rest of PBC's dancers have just com-
pleted two weeks of gratis rehearsals
for the company. In order to keep the
spring tour, everyone involved has
agreed to take a salary cut. i
Said Gribler: "The tour is being paid
for by the sponsors. We originally stood
to lose $90,000, but that's been covered
by what has been given up (by dan-
cers, crew, and musicians). The sup-
port in the nation is, as important as
support in Philadelphia. This is why
we're going on tour."

When the Pennsylvania Ballet dances
at Power Center in April, with
programs featuring works by such
diverse choreographers as Balanchine,-
Harkarvy, and Anastos, Gribler and the
rest ofd the company will be hoping that
their audience appreciates PBC's
quality. In the meantime, the dancers
will be anxiously watching the ac-
tivities of PBC's board as it attempts to
raise enough funds to ensure that there
will be a June season in Philadelphia
and many seasons thereafter.

.

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SCHOOL OF EDUCATION * THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN * SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
METHODOLOGICAL MYTHOLOGY
AND GURUISTIC DOXOLOGY
an informal talk and interaction with
Fred N. Kerlinger
Professor of Educational Psychology, University of Oregon
Professor Emeritus, New York University
Author, Foundations of Behavioral Research: Educational and Psychological Inquiry
University of Michigan Education alumnus and recipient-designate of the University's
1982 Outstanding Achievement Award
formerly -
Professor of Psychology at the University of Amsterdam
faculty member, University of-Indiana, Wayne State and Columbia universities

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