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March 21, 1991 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-03-21

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily
*Three dancers and

Thursday, March 21, 1991
their theses

Page 5

by Elizabeth Lenhard
"Hi, boys and girls!"
"Hi, Mickey!"
"Do you know what time of year
this is, boys and girls?"
"It's thesis time!"
"Right!"
You probably know several peo-
ple who are running all over campus
with dryer sheets on their pants, say-
ing, "Don't talk to me, I'm working
on my (honors, BFA, MFA) thesis."
That kind of frantic desperation does
not, however, characterize the prepa-
ration for the MFA Thesis concert at
the School of Dance this weekend.
The relaxed manner of professional
teamwork and tight knit friendship
that pervades the small school's stu-
dent body should contribute to the
quality of the concert, which is
choreographed and danced by three
MFA students.
Anita Cheng, one of the choreog-
raphers, says that creativity and pro-

ductivity is a necessity in the Mas-
ter's program. "(The professors) en-
courage us to explore our own
ideas," Cheng says. The availability
of rent-free performance space, fel-
low students who are willing to col-
laborate and perform, and, of course,
funding, gives University Dance stu-
dents an open forum in which to ex-
periment and thrive. This freedom is
then reflected in the individuality
that each dancer shows in her work.
In a rehearsal, Benedette Palazzola
ran through her abstract piece,
"Schoenberg Solo," with an inten-
tional limpid grace and unhurried
simplicity. Her movements were a
reflection of everyday actions, with a
twist - a knee lift with an inverted
ankle, or collapsing at the waist
while leaving one stiff arm straight
up in the air. With the color blue as
the only dominant interpretive de-
vice, Palazzola will enact the music
with her physicality.
In contrast, Cheng's solo, enti-

tied "Prelude to Vertigo," will dis-
play a turmoil of emotion. Cheng
made resourceful use of the Univer-
sity's resources and collaborated
freely with music student Dan
Messe, who composed Cheng's pi-
ano accompaniment.
Cheng says that if she could take
something with her when she leaves
the University, she would take her
dancers, because "they're generous
and brave." She collaborated freely
with her dancers in the creation of
the complex "Vertigo," as well as
"Homefront," which integrates tech-
nical devices, namely a video juxta-
posed with two dancers and three live
cellists. The video's flashing images
of the Persian Gulf war and CNN,
coupled with haunting music
(composed by Robin Cox) and a
chaotically athletic partnership be-
tween two dancers, represents
Cheng's thoughts on the war's ubiq-
uitous presence in our lives via news
coverage.

While Cheng makes use of origi-
nal compositions in her accompani-
ment, the musical expression will
also cover jazz from the '30s, in
Barbara Hobyak's "The Attic," along
with the classics. In her use of Liszt
and Mozart, Palazzola demonstrates
once again the innovation which has
been spawned from the concert's cre-
ative outlet. The dancer says that she
often choreographs in silence, set-
ting her dances to music later. In
choreographing two works for an
ensemble to the classical music, she
is covering exciting new ground.
For the dancers, this final concert
represents the culmination of two
years of fun and friendship, com-
bined with excellent preparation for
independent careers in modern dance.
THE MFA THESIS CONCERT will
be performed in the Dance School's
Studio A Theater (1310 N. Univer-
sity Court) tonight through Saturday
at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5, available
at the door.

Not your typical Tiger Beat pinup boys, Blues Traveler (which includes
former-wrestling great Andre the Giant, center) brings their TriBeCa/East
Village groove to the Midwest.
Blues travels by
word of mouth

by Andrew J. Cahn

* Musical says 'life is a Cabaret old chum'

by Beth Colquitt

"The lifestyle of Germany in
1930 was this heady, 'live for the
day,' drink-be merry-have sex atti-
tude," says director David Kirshen-
baum about Cabaret. "The whole
irony is that at this point in the
Third Reich, there was very little
awareness of what was going on in
terms of the politics and the gov-
ernment."
Out of the 20 musical numbers
in the stage musical Cabaret, only
five of them were retained for the
film, which rocketed a young Liza
Minelli to stardom. This in itself
should remind theater-goers not to
expect the same show when they
seat themselves in the Power Center
this weekend and wait for
UAC/MUSKET's production to be-
gin.
When Cabaret opened on Broad-
way in 1966, it ran for nearly three
years, making Joel Grey a legend for

his performance as the eerie and
enigmatic Emcee of the notorious
Kit Kat Klub. Cabaret is based on a
series of stories written by an Amer-
ican traveller in Berlin named
Christopher Isherwood. His memoirs
depict the Berlin Isherwood encoun-
tered in 1929 on the eve of the com-
ing of the Third Reich. One of his
stories described nightclub performer
Sally Bowles, an expatriate
Englishwoman who was destined to
be the subject of the 1951 play and
the 1955 film I Am a Camera, as
well as the main character of the
1966 musical Cabaret, which was
recently revived and updated with
limited success in 1987.
MUSKET has decided to return in
style and form to the 1966 produc-
tion, retaining only a few items
from the revival version. "It is al-
most completely different from the
film version," said producer Maria
Dell'Isola. In Kirshenbaum's opin-
ion, "There has never been a film so

radically different from the original
stage production;" as good as the
movie is, he says, he likes the show
better.
The costume and technical de-
signers are trying to remain in '30s
Germany with period costumes and
the set of the Kit Kat Klub. The
cast is large, unlike the film and the
original show, in an effort to convey
the number of people that were af-
fected by the sort of thing that was
happening in and out of the Kit Kat
Klub. To combat the difficulty of
making the Power Center seem in-
timate, the first several rows have
been knocked out and covered with a
thrust stage, bringing the cabaret
performers and the cabaret audience
right to the real audience, as if they
were actually in a cabaret.
The production is reminiscent of
Brecht's Threepenny Opera, not in
actual form, but in flavor. The char-
acters aren't frivolous, but complex
and realistic. They have their little

flaws and foibles instead of being
story-book romantic characters. It's a
very adult musical.
MUSKET's show is divided into
the original three acts and retains the
original large quantity of musical
numbers. "The show is full of big,
splashy musical numbers which
comment on the dramatic dialogue in
the scene before," says Kirshen-
baum. The Kander and Ebb title
song, "Life is a Cabaret," sung bit-
terly by Sally at the end of the
show, probably best describes the
philosophy that author Joe Masteroff
was trying to convey. Sally and the
other pleasure-seekers don't realize
the danger of their debaucheries.
CABARET will be performed
tonight through Saturday at 8 p.m. at
the Power Center. Tickets are
$5.50 in advance, available at the
Michigan Union ticket office and
all TicketMaster locations, and
$6.50 at the door.

If Blues Traveler wanted a theme
song for their first real, in-depth na-
tional tour, it could be "Goin' Down
the Road Feelin' Bad." In between
Colorado and Nebraska, their caravan
has been reduced from three vehicles
to one shaky van, carrying the band
and all its equipment along. Drum-
mer Brendan Hill certainly did not
anticipate this, but as he says,
"When you are doing 45 cities in 60
days, something is bound to go
wrong. Fortunately we only had to
miss one gig." Hopefully, there will
be nothing to hamper their perfor-
mances this weekend.
A few years ago, Blues Traveler
was playing strictly clubs and parties
around the New York area, but
within the last year, their cult fol-
lowing has been growing quite
rapidly. This is not due to any heavy
publicity by the recording industry,
but rather through the publicity they
have sent out on their own through
associates and fans.
Hill says they have definitely
been helped by "word of mouth"
advertising, and it has not been until
recently that the industry has "caught

on." Their album, after eight months
of release, has finally landed on
Billboard's pop chart. When I told
Hill that it was somewhere between
Carly Simon and 2 Live Crew,: he
said, "Oh, thank you," the same way
that Alvie Singer reacted when
Annie told him that he was what
"Grammy Hall would call him a real
Jew."
Although they are a four-piece
band, with members ranging in age
from 21 to 24, they often allow
other musicians to play on stage
with them. In a show at New York's
Wetlands this past January, the
group was augmented at different
points of the show by men playing
sax and flute. During one of their
numbers, a fan came on stage to per-
form tricks, like lighting a match
while one end was buried in a fin-
gernail. They do this to "make peo-
ple feel more a part of the show,"
and it also adds to the spontaneity.
The saxophonist they use, Hill
says, "is a music teacher at the 14ew
School (in Manhattan) who taught
us much about improvisation," and
they definitely apply what they have
learned in their shows. One of the
See BLUES, Page 8

Nina Lelchuk puts Liberace to shame

by Nick Hoffman
Audiences at the Rackham Lecture
Hall will witness a dynamic display
of virtuosity this Sunday eyening.
Nina Lelchuk, a world-renowned
Russian-born pianist, will bring her
considerable talents to bear upon
some of the most beautiful,
expressive and difficult pieces ever
composed for the piano.
Lelchuk, a piano instructor in the
School of Music, said it wasn't her
idea to hold the recital. "I'm playing
for my students," she said. "They
kept asking me to play, so I am."
The program for Lelchuk's recital
is unusual. Although it includes
mainstream composers such as

K

Frederick Chopin and Maurice
Ravel, it also features works by two
Russian composers, Medtner and Li-
adov, who are relatively obscure in
this country. "It's good music that
deserves to be played," said Lelchuk.
Romantic literary themes and an air
of drama will permeate the pro-
gram's tone. The era of Chopin will
segue into the dramaticism which
typifies Ravel.
Lelchuk will play Gaspard de la
Nuit by Maurice Ravel, a piece
based on three poems by Aloysius
Bertrand. The work begins with a
far-away twinkling of notes, which
represents Ondine, a cruel water
sprite. The work will go on to tell a
picturesque story saturated with dark

tonal shades which create a bleakly
sinister atmosphere. It is one of
most difficult and imaginative piano
works Ravel composed.
The pianist will then move on to
sweet simplicity with two pieces by
Fryderyk Chopin. The first of these
pieces is the Nocturne no. 2 in D-
flat major, which is one of Chopin's
most popular works. Chopin's
nocturnes were greatly influenced by
the Irish composer John Field, and
the texture of this piece is
reminiscent of his compositions. It
has a flowing, drifting style that por-
trays the kind of serenity found on a
Sunday afternoon. The notes will
sweep up into a glorious climax,
then subside with a sigh.

Chopin's Ballade no. 4 in F
minor is a quiet piece of subdued
thoughtfulness. Chopin creates intri-
cate textures of sound that are intri-
cately woven together to form a fab-
ric of impressive beauty. The piece
moves along slowly, but it speeds
up at the end, creating a frantic spray
See LIBERACE, Page 8.

ANN ARbOR
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Mr. & Mrs. Cyrano De
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PRESENT THIS COUPON WITH PURCHASED
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