Talking Dance

Tina Croll and James Cunningham's More From the Horse's Mouth, part of a program rotating into Dance Theater Workshop's Carnival Series March 9 through 28, lets older dancers recall the poignant moments in their lives when they came to understand their calling. These epiphanies, revealed in short monologues, burn at the heart of the work.

"It was conceived as a celebration," says Cunningham, 61. He and Croll, 55, created the piece last year, pulling together their contemporaries and letting them dance while talking about their careers. The veteran choreographers structured a score in which the dancers perform solo movement phrases, follow written instructions to alter their phrases, and wind up in a chair downstage where they sit to tell their anecdotes. The piece concludes with a group improvisation.

Croll calls the dance a live documentary. Each night, some 30 artists ranging in age from 30 to 70— among them Stuart Hodes, Sally Silvers, Dan Froot, Gus Solomons jr., Terese Capucilli, Ellis Wood, Muriel Manings, and Deborah Jowitt— perform in the work. Says participating choreographer Jane Comfort, "It's the same structure but always different because it's always someone new." Etched with spirit and wit, the stories emerge like old friends, and movement supports the tender tales.

Also on the program is Comfort's 10-year-old Cliff Notes: Macbeth, an exposé of '80s yuppie excess that she's revamped, updating the financial angle and including a major merger among Macbeth's investment-banker cronies as well as a hostile takeover. Witches dressed as goth club kids stir this tale of greed and ambition, which blends Shakespeare with the latest bulletins from Wall Street.

Cunningham premieres BBB (What did he mean when he said . . . ), a solo in which he slips seamlessly into several of his familiar characters; lighting designer Phil Sandström orchestrates a rainbow of light to surround this mysterious, associative work.

 
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