Devotion – Sarah Michelson

Baroque? Thematically and presentationally oppulent. Hmm, presentationally minimal but exertionaly opulent. Well, the dance was meticulously choreographed and executed but still minimal in that contemporary dance way, it was the set and the costumes that were pregnant with iconography. ? The Pieta and a line of Sarah Michelson loggo-ed track suits. Plus the Richard Maxwell text, being read aloud live by Sarah herself. Oh yes and running. Lot and lots of running. Over and Over again. With the mesmerizing spinning – I was suddenly struck – Beautiful! Truly.

Not something one usually says about a contemporary dance. Usually my hallmark is intellectually challenging, but this piece was all that but also on an emotional level just beautiful. I was entranced. The endurance of the dancers, the swells in music, courtesy of one Phillip Glass. All of it, at times, a repetitive drone. Yet all so grand.

An apt analogy of the entire experience comes (recursively) from the dance’s own set piece – a giant hanging bulge of scoop lights. At one point they all come on at full brightness and the whole contraption starts to swing like a giant bell. The light is harsh and hard to ignore, yet it is mesmerizing. The repetition is grating, yet the motion is enticing – beautiful.

Sarah Michelson is considered a choreographer, and she is a brilliant one, but for me it is her mastery and attention to detail over all the elements, the dance, the music, the set, the lighting, the costumes, the subject matter, the sum of all of these that I really enjoy.

Glad I made this trip, all the way to Minneapolis, to see this.

february 17 – 19
walker art center
minneapolis, mn

some opposite reactions to sarah’s work: minus plus