The transformations are more complex in Orlando, inspired by Virginia Woolf's eponymous novel and set to music by Quentin Chiappetta. As Woolf's gender-shifting hero-heroine, the corseted Sperling dons a jockstrap and makes sure it shows through her bloomers like a codpiece. Sometimes she's tough, lashing the air with a stick, sometimes softer, and sometimes indeterminate as she jumps through a modern equivalent of the Elizabethan galliard. You feel confusion seething, as if her sensibilities were changing in spite of her.
photo: Ellen Crane
Woman on the edge: Lucinda Childs at the Kitchen, through April 20
Rod Rodgers, who died March 24, was always searching to understand what it meant to be a black American man in dance. His gentle works from the '60s, like Tangents and Percussion Suite, transformed the softness in his nature and his work with Erick Hawkins into idyllic African rituals. But inspired by the leaders of Black Liberation, he shouldered the dramas of oppression and violence, most memorably in Box (1972). And himself became a leader, a teacher, an example for many.