Ever go to a dance performance where you sit, absolutely exasperated for an hour and a half, and then at the end people are applauding and leaping to their feet and you wonder if you’ve lost your mind? So how much more sane did I feel after reading Allan Ulrich’s review of Bebe Miller’s “Landing/Place,” which had a two-night run presented by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts last weekend:
“The 70-minute Landing/Place, for all its passing excellences and truly stunning dancing, often seems to meander through its elaborate accoutrements, which often threaten to suffocate it. The non-stop projections by animation artist Vita Berezina-Blackburn and video artist Maya Ciarrochu, the arty lighting by Michael Mazzola (which often shrouds the five dancers? faces in darkness) and the live, computer-generated score by Albert Mathias?the standard, often ear-splitting postmodern wallpaper music, with some odd emendations?seem less collaborative elements than distractions . . .
What has happened on stage for the past hour felt modular in the extreme. Episodes could, you sense, be rearranged without any of it making much of a difference. Expressiveness is not a problem with Miller. Structure and meaning are.”
Mind you, Allan and I don’t always agree, but you’ll notice he went a mite farther than John Rockwell’s “trust me, I have good taste” rave in the New York Times in backing up his aesthetic reactions.
You might also notice that the Chronicle did not cover “Landing/Place.” Again, I’m not the one who calls the shots, so if you think it should have been covered, chip in your two cents to the editors–politely and with enthusiasm, please. Remember, the paper doesn’t know what readers want covered unless you let them know. Heck, I don’t know what the dance community wants covered unless the dance community lets me know. So here’s an open question: Do you think touring dance companies like Marie Chouinard’s and Bebe Miller’s need to be covered? What if I told you the coverage would come at the expense of reviewing performances by some smaller local companies? Sadly, space in the paper for dance is a zero-sum game. What do you think should be prioritized?
And if you went to Bebe Miller Company over the weekend and want to stack your own reactions up against Allan’s, click here to read the review.