Sunday, April 22, 2007

Slaves to the Music

Throughout the acts that took place during the Berkeley Dance Project today there was one thing that jumped out at me: the choreography. The choreography was incredible because the dancers not only danced well but they also performed many other actions that needed to be done to a strict time schedule. A good example of this was when one of the dancers from "The Reception" had a conversation with another dancer who was not actually present there but on the television. I was amazed at how much it looked like a conversation between two people in the same room. There were also many other actions through this particular act that were done to a strict time schedule such as the part when the dancers went behind screens and hid while a video of them dancing was played. Since there were so many different actions within the acts that the dancers needed to memorize, I began to wonder how they did it with such accuracy and rhythm. I believe that they were doing their actions in accordance with the music that was playing in the background. Each part of the songs defined their actions and it was almost as if they were slaves to the music. This reminded me of the clip from "Metropolis" when the workers are slaves to the machine and must work to a perfect time schedule in order for the factory to function. Throughout the Berkeley Dance Project, this idea was extremely evident. If the dancers didn't perform a certain action with the music playing, then that single mistake would cause a waterfall effect and the whole act would become messed up. The dancers were "slaves" to the music of each act.
On a whole the Berkeley Dance Project was interesting but I had a tough time interpreting the actions of the dancers and had trouble finding meaning in each of the acts. However, I was really impressed by the choreography and that was the one thing that jumped out at me while I was watching it.



Blogger Alex K said...

"such as the part when the dancers went behind screens and hid while a video of them dancing was played"

I was told that all the projections that we saw were live feed from either Hearst Mining or Illinois. I really did think that it was a video of the person who's laying on the ground, but I guess not.
As for different "acts", were the 5 performances suppose to be related? I think they were stand-alone.
I was actually confused on what "The Reception" was trying to say. Based on the follow-up Q&A, it seemed like they were all interested in the technology. Yet, I thought the play was trying to criticize (perhaps warn us?) this sort of relationship between people. The failing of the TV screen while trying to go somewhere together showed the unreliability of this technology. The comparison between two dancers dancing together and the sole dancer that had an obvious void as he held on to the air was very intriguing - the whole sequence I was comparing the two "pairs", and trying to fill in the void. It was interesting how the sole dancer performed the same dance as the couple, but he switched several times who he was mimicing.

Same void was shown when the dancers molded the figure of the main dancer - reminding of Nauman's peice where he's presense was shown through the mold, but he physically removed himself and created the present emptiness of himself.

4/23/2007 1:44 AM  
Blogger Shyam said...

when you were talking about the conversation that the person was having with the person in the tv, I thought that the person in the tv could hear what was being said in the actual auditorium because i think they aimed to talk to each other while not occupying physical space. By the person being on the tv, she is able to be at a completely far off place and still "be present" at the auditorium. Because part of being present is also being able to hear what is going on, I thought that the person on the tv could hear what the person who was actually at the auditorium was saying into the microphone.

4/28/2007 8:10 PM  
Blogger Ifan Wei said...

While you felt that the dancers were, in a sense, slaves to the music, I felt the music was more of an accompaniment to a freedom of expression. Throughout the pieces, I wondered where the inspiration for center moves, like viciously stirring the elbow in circles, came from. I think there is a big difference between the punctuality that is essential in putting on a good show and the performance of a montonous job. I felt that the dancers put on the show as a direct result of their passion for dance. The obligation of and involvement in a factory job seems to be a very different process.

4/29/2007 11:22 PM  

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