I think I shall be a modern dance groupie. I never knew that I liked it very much - my exposure was limited to slacking my way through dance class in gym my freshman year. Our final project was to compose five-minute performance of our very own, using some combination of the steps we had learned that quarter. Our teacher called it modern dance. All I really remember of that class is Abby, the first girl I ever had a crush on so strong I couldn't call it anything else. She, of course, had no idea I existed, even when we were in the same group for said final project. I was terrified of her.
In any event, I never knew much about modern dance, one way or another. Then, Wednesday, this group of women came and performed in the gym, a group called LeGendre. LeGendre being the name of the artistic director/choreographer, Amii LeGendre. These people blew my mind. They did a performance called "Bully" about power and gender roles and power games and bullying and nurturing, this intricate dance between eros and pathos, strength and weakness, the different aspects of power. It was so simple, so pure, in that room. An audience of 200 filling half the gym, them with the remaining half to dance in. I was in the front row, and there were moments when they were so close I could have touched them without even stretching out my arm. Music amd motion, pure meaning requiring no conscious interpretation. As everyone was leaving I went and spoke to them for a few minutes, and they said that they were having a show in Aspen Friday and Saturday nights. So I spent the rest of the week thinking about it, and last night called Cesca and told her about it, and soon enough she, her mother, and I were all in their car heading up to the Wheeler Opera House.
The stage is a moderate thrust stage, there's a small orchestra pit, three sections of seats down below and a balcony above. It's decorated in polished woods and red velvet, and the stage is dark matte wood. They dance with few props or scenery - a simple set painted to look like a brick wall for "Bully," a sheet stretched over a frame with lavender light projected onto it for "House of Water." They had more lights and sound for this show, because they had the facilities for it, and I can't decide which way I liked it better. The performance in the gym had the raw feel of rehearsal - they had nothing but their bodies and the music, no lights or shadows to project emotion so they had to do it themselves. But at the Wheeler it seemed like they were dancing with the light as well as with each other, like the light was an extension of their bodies. Either way they take my breath away. Alianna has so much raw power, especially with that guitar. They are so unafraid, so poignant, so graceful and yet so jagged. Even just sitting on the edge of the stage after the performance they have such an enormous presence and even the way they walk blends into a visual harmony.
We did go up to talk to them when they came out, and Amii recognized me from Wednesday and seemed happy that I had come. There were a few adults there who obviously knew dance much better than I did, so for a while they talked shop with the dancers, but as it started to break up we went up to talk to Alianna. *gulp* I think I'm in love. She's the girl with the guitar, a face that shouldn't be beautiful but is because of the person behind it, short, chunky-spiked red hair, strength and presence that radiate from her eyes, her skin, her way of carrying herself. She astounds me. She makes me want to drop out of school and go on tour with them wherever they go, to soothe her sore muscles after all that exertion of the dance, to carry things and cheer loudly. I want to be a modern dance groupie.
... design by bri...