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January 13, 1983 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-01-13

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ARTS
The Michigan Daily Thursday, January 13, 1983

Page 5

Dancers have fun at work

By Coleen Egan
T HERE ARE NO bright-yellow
hardhats visible. Only sweat-
drenched heads of hair can be seen. The
ear-drum breaking sound of the jack-
hammer is missing too. In their place
one hears only deep breathing and the
sliding and squeaking of bare feet on a
wood floor. The flourescent-orange
cones and the huge diamond-shaped
highway signs are absent too. Still,
there they are-Men Working.
Men Working, Ann Arbor's only all
male improvisational dance and
theater troupe opens its fourth season
this weekend at the Canterbury Loft.
Walli Rogue, Robert Black, Edward
Clark, and Richard MacMath, all in
their 30s and of different professions,
formed their troupe four years ago af-
ter attending a six-week workshop in
San Francisco. The focus of that
workshop, Contact Improvisations, a
rather new form of modern dance,
based on sharing a point of gravity,
which also became the beginning focus
of Men Working.
After this workshop the men worked
with Mirage, an all female im-
provisational group (now disbanded).
The four men decided that they needed
to work more with each other on the
Contact Improvisation rather than with
the women, to insure the safety of those
smaller than their near six-foot builds.
With a continuous, smooth, momentum
of common gymnastic tumbles, rolls
and dance steps between performers

Clark says, "It looks a lot easier than it
is.,
Only after they began working
together on the Contact Improvisation
did the name come. Bored with using
the gym for exercise after a hard day at
work, the Contact Improvisation
meetings became their new workouts.
When one of the members saw a con-
struction sign that fit the groups per-
sonality they decided than to call them-,
selves Men Working.
For their three seasons the perfor-
mances highlighted Contact Im-
provisation. Through their inter-
pretations of it the group became more
creative and as a result closer.
"You don't necessarily try to make
things happen, you just stay with the
impulse," says Black, the only member
who is not from Michigan nor a
graduate of the University. "There is a
lot of playfulness and easy caring. You
must be aware and respective of the
other person."
"We take a lot of license with each
other," adds Rogue, "and there is a
strong connection between us with a lot
of support in our dancing as well as out-
side."
Because they take more of an assor-
tment of outside creative expression
classes, the group's repertoire now em-
bodies a wider and wider range of dan-
ce and theater. This weekend's audien-
ces at the Canterbury Loft will get a
chance to view the variety of things
they have been studying.

The Program includes a number of
pieces which draw on and bring
together in aunified manner the martial
arts, freeflow, action theater, and
comedy and music.
The wide variety of creative ex-
pression is brought together in unity
because of the type of group that Men
Working is. "The theme of our group
should there be one, would have to be
harmony," says Rogue. "It's amazing
how we work together-it's a definite,
amazing group process."
The group will take their harmony to
Colorado at the end of January for a
short engagement. They hope to do
some performances in Detroit when
they return to Michigan and then in the
spring will return to Ann Arbor for
perhaps a few more performances.
At all of their shows, the four big boys
on a playground, as Clark calls them,
are men playing or working at -
something different.

The four-male team of Men Working jump for joy at their improvizational dance performance tomorrow at
Canterbury Loft.

Michiga
By Steve Miller
and Steve Bennich
WHEN POETS marshal the effort
to put into words their inter-
nal-even subconscious-thought
processes, the quality of the results
varies. They publish a lot of non-poetic
material, but prose is not a form that
poets need to master. Fortunately, in
the course of a writing career many
poets do become adept at wordier man-
ners of expression, and take joy in
communicating what wisdom they
possess.
The "Poets on Poetry" series from
the University of Michigan Press em-
bodies a concern for the more impor-
tant statements of poets, statements
about the subject they know best. The
series collects outstanding poets'
critical pieces about their own and
other poets' works. The following two
books are among the latest in the
series. Parti-colored Blocks for a Quilt
By Marge Piercy
University of Michigan Press,
327 p., $6.95
We are told that poets teach us the
most about their craft through their
poetry. In a similar vein, it has been
said that there was never a good writer
that was a good speaker. One tends to
admire reticence in a poet: the
mysterious and indominable reserve
that carves out a willful profile.
In treating the incipient poet to her
creative processes, Marge Piercy ex-
plodes the mystique: "Here is how I do
it." Meditations on this process are
potentially dangerous and carry the
h same stigma in some minds as public
masturbation.
But, in all fairness, isn't it needlessly
pious to expect poets to exist in a
rarefied atmosphere, oblivious to the
need for economic recompense?
Perhaps some poets flourish in
Academe, and avoid the pitfalls that
come with paid pedagogy.
The saving grace of Piercy's Parti-
colored Blocks for a Quilt is its
relentless frankness about her craft.
Piercy is indulgent, thorough, and in-
sistent. Her book must be selectively
mined, though. When Piercy dissects
her poems to uncover the experience

n poets,
and associations beneath them, she is
intriguing and informative.
Piercy's blend of mythology with the
gestation of her poetic sensibility in the
sixties and fifties, and her current
political predicaments give the reader
an incisive glimpse of her artistic orien-
tation. On the political front, Piercy is
bizarre and never fails to evoke a
response.
She is the most successful when she
knows how she refines her poetry and
polishes her images to most clearly ac-
complish her purpose. The analysis of
"Rough Times," from its beginning as
a "prosy fragment" to its final form is
worth mention. The metaphors blend
convincingly in the poem and in Pier-
cy's justification:
No new idea is seldom born on the
halfshell
attended by graces .. .
How ugly were the first fish with
air sacs
as they hauled up on the muddy
flats
Of this poem Piercy writes, "I think the
association of Venus with the lung
fishes is that they are both born of the
ocean with tremendous novelty." Pier-
cy's self-made exegises make her book
worthwhile to the student of her work as
well as the fledging poet.
Blocks for a Quilt contains the odd,
otherwise inconceivable notions that
one expects of a poet worth reading.
Although her radical perspective
places poets in a persecuted minority,
the reader may overlook Piercy's
peculiar political thoughts to get to the
essence of her craft. _
The Weather for Poetry-
Essays, Reviews, and.Notes on
Poetry, 1977-81
By Donald Hall
University of Michigan Press,
335 p., $6.95

make good
O Do not live your life as if it he orients his m
were a fishing expedition and poems of poetry instea
were the fish. The Weather
o Remember what matters. troduction to m
(From "Polonius' Advice to handle of anc
Poets, "in The Weather for Poetry) form.
Donald Hall tackles his subjects with
a single block in The Weather for
Poetry. There are almost 45 pieces in
this book, none longer than 10 pages.
His brevity means there's no time for
boredom, and barely enough for
disagreement.
Hall is sharp, though. His common
sense and artistic sensitivity are rarelySE A
obscured by nuance or imprecision.
Certainly an inherent talent for using Dearbomn
the language plays a vital part, but he East Lans
also has had many opportunities in his
career to perfect his critical acuity and
clear presentation.
Hall has had an impressive career as
a writer, poet, critic, editor, columnist
and more. He taught for 18 years in the
University of Michigan's English
department, but left in 1975 to write full-(313}
time. At present, he is General Editor '1
of the "Poets on Poetry" series.
. So, what does Hall have to say? He
mentions a vast panoply of modern
poets, with numerous references to
their published works and carefully
selected examples of their verse. He
complains about the spotty coverage
poetry receives in the popular literary
media, and follows the conventional
and radical directions modern poetry
takes in the hands of succeeding
generations.
Short and pointed, Hall's articles give
well-founded impressions of other
poets' works. He finds a poet's best ef-
forts, or reveals overrated indulgences.
Hall's book isn't full of tips for
poets-with the exception of his
humorous piece, "Polonius' Advice to
Poets." Ranging over the entire genre,

material for the readers
d of its creators.
for Poetry is not an in-
odern poetry, but it is a
often obscure literary

University of Michigan
Michigan Union, Kuenzel Room
Wednesday, January 26
Singers: 2:00-4:30 PM; Dancers: 4:30-6:00 PM
Instrumentalists & Specialty Acts: 2:OQQ6:00 PM
Kings Island
American Heritage Music Hall
Saturday, January 22 and Sunday, January 23
10:00 AM-6:00 PM (both days)

t

II
Singers * Dancers " Instrumentalists * Technicians
Variety Performers " $180.250/week
One round trip air fare will be paid to hired performers traveling over 250 miles to the park
-Contact Entertainment Dept . K ngs Island. OH 45034
Cc>Copyright 1982, Taft Attractions. Entertainment Dept.. 1932 Highland Ave.. Cincinnati, OH 45219

CO

LO

R

Dance Theatre Studio
711 N. University (near State St.), Ann Arbor " 995-4242
co-directors: Christopher Watson & Kathleen Smith
day, evening & weekend classes
New classes begin January 10

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