Juliette Mapp Reads Gertrude Stein; Paradigm Celebrates Two Different Birthdays

The Making of Americans at DTW, plus Paradigm Shift: Past, Present, Future at Danspace

Solomons’s premiere, Royalty Redux, is both puzzling and compelling. Although it’s entrancing as a showcase for mature, virtuosic performers, it feels not quite finished at this point, not really sure of itself. Impulse, a solo by Solomons, seems like a prelude to the group piece; he wears a fabulous costume (by Oana Botez-Ban) similar to those the others wear—variously cut, long black taffeta coats over black trousers. Guitarist Matthew Flory Meade and percussionist Kyle Olsen accompany him with a mix of live instruments and electronics; judging by the musicians’ attentiveness to Solomons, I’d guess that all three are improvising to some degree. The eloquently performed solo, in which Solomons seems increasingly beset by forces we can’t see, feels long for a prelude, and when de Lavallade, Blake, Sarita Allen, Hope Clarke, Robert La Fosse, and Valda Setterfield enter and stare at him, it sets up an uncomfortable tension. We can’t wait to see what these other superbly gifted people are going to do.

In the days leading up to the much-publicized wedding of Britain’s Prince William and Kate Middleton, it’s easy to see members of this royalty of dance as a fictitious version of the real royal family across the pond. They begin posed as if for a photograph, then prowl superbly around the performing area, the women bedecked with diamond necklaces, earrings, and brooches. Personalities, desires, and rivalries begin to emerge. Blake advances and retreats along a corridor of light, reaching one arm forward as if to sight on a goal. Setterfield, looking—with her beautiful carriage, silver hair, major jewelry, and down-turned mouth—not unlike the onetime Dowager Queen Mary, grasps small invisible things and brushes others behind her. She and La Fosse have an enigmatic encounter, after which she surreptitiously smoothes her hair.

Molly Lieber, Kayvon Pourazar, Aretha Aoki, Levi Gonzalez, Vanessa Anspaugh, and Juliette Mapp make some Americans.
Julietta Cervantes
Molly Lieber, Kayvon Pourazar, Aretha Aoki, Levi Gonzalez, Vanessa Anspaugh, and Juliette Mapp make some Americans.
A little something for the 80th: Carmen de Lavallade in her solo, Tango With Ghosts
Christopher Duggan
A little something for the 80th: Carmen de Lavallade in her solo, Tango With Ghosts

Details

Juliette Mapp: The Making of Americans
Dance Theater Workshop
April 13 through 16
Paradigm: Paradigm Shift: Past, Present, Future
Danspace Project, Saint Markís Church
April 14 through 16

Almost all these interesting people seem preoccupied with the darkness that lurks beyond where they are; something unsettling is out there. Allen is the least troubled (she’s also the only one without long pants under her coat, and flashes her thighs as she struts voluptuously or races teasingly around). Think Fergie? La Fosse grabs her, clasps her in his arms. He and Blake square off. Aha, a bit of jealousy! A fight? No. Within seconds, the three of them are dancing happily together (while Olsen and Meade sneak a touch of country music in). Clarke is a terror, a glamorous sorceress; the music gets sweeter, but she scares the hell out everyone. Never mind. Royalty has its obligations, and they all gather at the back again to pose for the camera that must be awaiting them.

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