I’m not sure if I’m intrigued or just frozen in horror.
Today I had an hour to spare in the Chelsea area, so I grabbed a cliff bar ($2! I miss Sams Club!) and a New York Times and headed to the Chelsea Water Park. I of course, bypassed the business and only glanced over sports to ensure that I could make small talk when necessary (“how bout’ those Dolphins?-
thanks nathan Lane and ‘The Birdcage”) and really only read the arts section. Alwin Nikolais was the featured choreographer/ lighting/sound director. He is famous for weird additions in his pieces, like dancers suspended on ropes or sleight of hand. Mostly, he seems to pull it off with style. His piece, ‘Tower’ seems to be an exception.Here is an excerpt from the Times:
“But for the sake of that flame they should all lay “Tower” (1968), from the longer “Vaudeville of the Elements,” to rest. Perhaps Nikolais’s original dancers could carry off the hectic shouting and posturing that “Tower” demands as its 10 dancers carry around metal frames that are eventually built into said tower. But as it appears now, the performance by the suffering dancers is unconvincing; there is no dance interest, no visual suspense or drama. The wait for the tower to topple — you know it will — is excruciatingly dull. Nikolais, whose currency was wonder and magic, shouldn’t be remembered for this.”
I cannot stand predictability in anything (song lyrics, dance, conversation with jerks on the subway) except when to expect a paycheck. I think art is supposed to catch people off-guard in some ways. I think it is in moments of surprise that art or even people catch my attention. I love those ‘how did the do that lift?’ or ‘did he really just SAY that?’ moments, mostly because I believe that the true function of art is to reveal to the audience something about themselves, and in those moments, I realize my own potential to be shocked, delighted, offended. I am a little of all three of those after watching the featured video this week. It is if anything, unpredictable (what’s with the kazoos?) Performed in 2000 by “Snappy Dance Theater Company’, this Vagina dance was part of a benefit concert for ‘The Vagina Monologues’. A little unsettling but I still liked it. The girl with the long brown hair has gorgeous legs and feet too, which never hurts.
Not everyone likes to be surprised. I personally am not even sure how I would feel about surprise parties, I hate feeling unprepared for anything. Maybe it’s the role of art to sometimes make people uncomfortable, to catch us ‘with our pants down’ so to speak. I implore you, dear readers, to watch this video and let me know your thoughts. The dancers at least, give it a ‘thumbs up’.