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February 02, 1995 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-02-02

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The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, February 2, 1995 - 5
'FutureDance 1935-2035'also leaps through past present
'U' Dance Department uses a multi-technical approach to exploring 100 years of movement

By Liz Shaw
Daily Weekend Editor
What would the world be today
without any computers? How long
could you go without e-mail or
Doom2? Although the name
FutureDance might lead one to think
that this year's annual U dance con-
cert will be concentrating on the fu-
ture, that's not entirely so. The con-
cert starts out with some not so humble
roots in 1935, with the rise of a then
up-and-coming dancer/choreogra-

oher, Martha Graham. No, she didn't
have a computer.
Perhaps if Martha Graham had a
computer in 1935 when she was first
creating and performing her famous
"Panorama" it wouldn't have been
lost for so many years. Considering
the fact that the original choreogra-
phy was not notated in any way, and
the only real record of "Panorama"
was a poorly shot film which only

concentrated on a few of the dancers
in the thirty-odd dancer piece. The
piece in its original form was thought
to be lost forever.
Enter Yuriko Kikuchi, one time
dancer with Martha Graham, and, in
1987, associate artistic director of
the Graham Company. Using her
knowledge of Graham's technique,
the memories of the women who
performed in the original piece, and
the one and only film, Kikuchi re-.
constructed "Panorama." Although

the original piece was over 45 min-
utes and the re-done piece reduced it
to a mere nine to 10, it was an amazing
feat considering what few sources
Kikuchi had to work with.
Since Kikuchi's reconstruction,
the dance has been performed very
few times. One of these times was last
fall during the University's celebra-
tion of Martha Graham's 100th birth-
day. Thursday's concert will be
launched by "Panorama" as a means
of introducing the theme of 100 years
of dance and the study of movement.
Graham's piece is a strong piece of
history to use as this springboard.
"What you see are archeological
remnants of this work. It exists as a
piece of art itself," said Peter Sparling,
U Dance Department Chair, and a
former principal dancer of the Martha
Graham Company. "Kikuchi was able
to distill the body of the work."
Moving ahead on our dance time
line lands you at "Wintercount," a
post-modern piece about the'30's by
visiting choreographer Janet Lilly.
Lilly, a former dancer with the Bill T.
Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company,
presents a displace view of the '30's
by almost taking the time periodout
of context.
"It's almost as if she has had the
privilege of peeking into the past,"
Sparling said of Lilly, "glimpsing
through the lense of the present."
The computer age is the backdrop
for "Stale Green Traffic Light," cho-
reographed by former Merce
Cunningham dancer Alan Good.
Known for his fifteen years with avant
garde choreographer Cunningham,
Good tries to separate his style of
composition from Cunningham'sjust
as Cunningham separated his dance
moves from the music used in his
pieces. Just as audiences had to learn
to watch Merce Cunningham's works,
Good had to learn to work in the
unorthodox stylings of a man who
went against convention.
While Good's love of all things
related to computers is a part of his
inspiration for his "Traffic Light," the
basic premise is computer programs.
"Computers are now ubiquitous;
they are tools that everyone uses. They
seep in and become normal," Alan
Good said in a recent interview. "I
offer this as an open question to see
what happens to us when these new
softwares appear in our world and as
we become fluent with them, how do
we look at our lives and our world
with these computers in them?"
Continuing in the vein of life oc-
curring in multiple layers, with many
things happening simultaneously,

Good's piece isn't solely about the
computer program, but what is going
on at the same time as this program is
"Life is a wonderful, illogical,
ever-present thing," Good empha-
sized, "life isn't just in the software-
there's a great big 'meanwhile' going
on in life at all times."
Good's piece is a highly complex
fruit of many people's labors. Not the
least of which is Susan McDaniel (of
CREW), who was in charge of all of
the computer programming that goes
along with the piece. Hank Manning,
of the Graduate English Program, also
had a great deal of his time and work
go into the conception of "Traffic
Light." The biggest influence on the
feel of the piece, however, will prob-
ably come from the music, which
comes straight from a CD-ROM video
game, the same game that Good spent
h o u r playing after the pass-
ing of hismotherlastMarch.
"There's some-
t h i n g very quietabout
the music; the sounds
offer si- lence,"
Good said. "If
you put a little
silence around
things it adds
weight, dignity,
gives things a sense of
being in their proper ritu-
alistic time."
We travel further into the
computer age with Jessica
Fogel's "Save Changes Before
Quitting," a dance in which the
movements are based on actual
parts and functions of the computer.
She works to make the body a type of
"portable software." As Fogel states:
"Many of the words used to describe
cyberspace activities or computer
functions are pregnant with verbal or
visual puns and images." Fogel takes
this familiar computer language and
manipulates it into a whole new mean-
ing. The piece includes an electronic
score by U composer Stephen Rush.
The concert comes to an end with
the premiere of Peter Sparling's "Pur-
suit of Happiness," a wildly varied
piece which Sparling describes as his
"own kind of Mission:Impossible."
The work includes both dancers and a
narrator/actor, portrayed by local art-
ist Malcolm Tulip. The setting of the
piece is a dance class in the year 2035.
"I asked myself, 'What would I
tell dancers trying to dance in zero
gravity,' if I were still around and
teaching dance in 2035," Sparling
The piece is also the stopper for

the show, the end of the timeline, the
end of the study in movement is its
different aspects and perceptions. It's
all about "putting art in unconven-
tional spaces" and exploring the un-
"If you open your eyes wide
enough," Sparling said, "you can see
art and technology happening all
around you, and it's up to the artist to
incorporate this expanding media into
their works."
FutureDance 1935-2035 is being
performed at the Power Center
February 2, 3, and 4 at 8 p.m., and
February 5 at 2 p.m. Tickets are
$12-$16 for reserved seating and
student seating is available for $6.
Call 764-0450 for more info.

Oscar nominations: men good but no women

In less than two weeks the Acad-
emy of Motion Picture Arts and Sci-
ences will unveil the nominations for
one of the most wide open Oscar
races in recent memory. Whereas last
year at this time the names Hanks,
Hunter, Spielberg, Tommy Lee Jones,
and the film "Schindler's List" could
have already been engraved on five of

lesser-known works to recieve nomi-
nations has drastically increased. Un-
fortunately, even these advantages
will not likely translate into a Best
Picture nomination for either the
"Hoop Dreams" or "Ed Wood."
Instead the studios will likely
award themselves. "Four Weddings
and a Funeral" and "The Shawshank
Redemption" would seem the likeli-
est candidates. "Little Women" or
"Nobody's Fool" may also contend.
The Best Actor race also features
three likely candidates. Last year's
winner, Tom Hanks, in the one cat-
egory in which "Gump" is more quali-
fied than its chief rival "Pulp Fic-
tion," is a sure nominee. Everyone
loves a comeback so John Travolta
will certainly be nominated. The ex-
tremely worthy Paul Newman will
also be a definite nomination. Hugh
Grant ("Four Weddings") and Ralph
Fiennes ("Quiz Show") will likely
round out the ballot with only serious
competition from the two
"Shawshank" leads, Morgan Freeman
and Tim Robbins.
Best Actress is an abysmal mess.

Hollywood may have to look over-
seas to find suitable nominees.
If they choose to stay at home the
melodramatic claptrap that spouted
from Jodie Foster ("Nell") and Meg
Ryan ("When a Man Loves a
Woman") will be rewarded. Jessica
Lange ("Blue Sky") will be nomi-
nated for a role filmed almost four
years ago. The other two will likely
be Winona Ryder ("Little Women")
and Sigourney Weaver ("Death and
the Maiden"). Yet because dying
never hurts one's chance to garnish a
nomination, don't count out Jessica
Tandy ("Camilla").
Martin Landau ("Ed Wood")
should and will win Best Supporting
Actor for his alternately humorous
and frightening, yet always poignant
portrayal of Bela Lugosi. His only
rivals will be Samuel L. Jackson
("Pulp Fiction") and Gary Sinise
("Forrest Gump"). A big push for
Jackson's co-star, Bruce Willis will
likely win him a nomination. The
final nominee will be either Paul
Scofield ("Quiz Show") or the more
deserved Chazz Palmenteri ("Bullets

over Broadway").
Best Supporting Actress, an award
which in recent years has gone to such
thespians as Whoopi Goldberg and
Marisa Tomei is again a weak field.
Dianne Wiest ("Bullets") and Kirsten
Dunst ("Interview with the Vampire")
will be nominated deservedly. Uma
Thurman ("Fiction") and Robin
Wright ("Gump") will ride the coat-
tails of their respective films. Either
Susan Sarandon ("Little Women") or,
in a gushy, career-rewarding move,
Sophia Loren ("Ready to Wear") will
close the nominees.
Finally, the group most adventur-
ous with their nominations, the direc-
tors may do the right thing and nomi-
nate Tim Burton ("Ed Wood") and/or
Krystof Kieslowski ("Red") along-
side such locks as Quentin Tarantino
("Fiction"), Robert Zemeckis
("Gump") and Robert Redford ("Quiz
Show"). Frequent nominees, Woody
Allen and Oliver Stone also may get
tabbed. If they choose to play it safe,
however, either Mike Newell ("Four
Weddings") and/or Frank Darabont
("Shawshank") will be rewarded.

the six major statuettes, this year
very little is certain.
Three films are mortal locks to
receive Best Picture nominations -
the front-running "Forrest Gump,"
"Pulp Fiction," and "Quiz Show."
No other film will contend for the
actual award and no other work is
* guaranteed a nomination.
Because eligible films are not
only accessible in the theater but
also on videocassettes sent to the
Academy voters the possibilities for


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