On Sunday, June 24th 2018, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a rehearsal at Gibney Dance Center with Artistic Director of MOVETHECOMPANY, Joshua Beamish for his upcoming choreographic work, ‘The Masque of the Red Death’.
Inspired by the Edgar Allan Poe short story, this full length work utilizes contemporary movement vocabulary to illustrate parallels between the literary work and the current health care crisis. Set to an electronic score and pre-recorded texts by legendary opera singer, Jessye Norman, the piece examines color theory and power hierarchies that continue to be a plague or driving force behind the running of modern society.
After watching three of the seven cast members rehearse, I was able to sit down with Josh and ask a few questions about exploring an older text through a lens of contemporary dance, as well as his inspirations and aims for the work. We discussed topics such as gender and race in casting and how that was important specifically to this piece, and how the original text provided surprisingly relevant cues to inform the choreography.
For instance, take a guess as to the color of the room where the Prince (or in Beamish’s interpretation, the executive, the president, or the corporation that bought the president) has his leadership challenged?
If you guessed the color orange, you are a smart cookie. Who knew that Poe could foreshadow the political climate of 2018?
We also talked about masks, progressing ballet, and how an artist can represent him or herself in non-autobiographical work.
- Politics on stage? Why it’s almost like The Green Table: Tony Award Winning ‘All the Way’ Review
- I like politics in art! Mine are just in watercolor: If Politics were Ballet
Enjoy a short preview
Or listen to the Full interview here. Enjoy my random Game of Thrones reference. Or better yet, go enjoy this show at the Joyce this Thursday and Friday.