History came to life at Peak Performances (October 6 – 9) when Deborah Hay, a founding member of the spicy, postmodern, Judson Dance Theater of the 60s put her hands on the contemporary Cullberg Ballet, founded in 1967, and made Figure a Sea (2015). For its American premiere, the tenor of the evening was already set when as we enter, bodies were quietly moving on the bare stage. Framed by bare walls on both sides, and illuminated by the white floor which ran down the back wall and then the length of the stage, Hay’s 60 minutes of meditative movement conversations covered all usable space including those really close to the edges and corners of the stage, near the audience. There were many lovely moments that sometimes seemed improvised but soon proved to be carefully designed. In one instance, an infectious hopping on the ball of one foot by one dancer was soon picked up by the others, one-by-one, until all of them were moving around the space with the same movement. There was also the jerky-jointed sequence that led to the floor (some Swedish was thrown in here), and then there were intimate two-person hugs connecting those near or far that magically changed Hay’s collage of bodies. The 20 dancers from the Cullberg Ballet were breathtaking, Laurie Anderson’s “music” was seamless and Hay's blend of then and now was perfect - what a combination.
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I am a performer, historian, consultant and dance writer. I am a faculty member at Hunter College, Sarah Lawrence College (Guest), Empire State College's online program Center for Distance Learning. I am also a former faculty member of The Ailey School and the Alvin Ailey/Fordham University dance major program, Kean University and The Joffrey Ballet School's Jazz and Contemporary Trainee Program. I write on dance for The Amsterdam News, Dance Magazine and various publications. Click below to read more about me at my home page - "About Me."