Very now, very Pam-Tan

Architecture & Design · Dance · Reviews


Watching it, it has the feeling of today: choreographer Pam Tanowitz’s “thunder rolling along afterward,” an emotionally fraught, 20-minute-long work fashioned for a sleek tribe of Juilliard School dance majors.

Along with contributions by John Heginbotham, Katarzyna Skarpetowska, Matthew Neenan, Tanowitz’s “thunder” comprised the Juilliard School’s annual showcase, “New Dances: Edition 2016.”

What is that feeling of ‘now’? How does it translate in a dance?

There’s urgency. There’s struggle. There’s the sense that things are difficult but must be tackled nonetheless. One must go on. There’s duty; the compulsion to perform certain tasks. There’s beauty in the human endeavor, but there’s also melancholia. The beauty is fleeting, and it’s achieved in extreme isolation. It’s also very random.

Watching this superb ballet spool on basic components — Cunningham movement-vocabulary embellished by twists, turns, and surprising fillips — is to hear the screeching of its super-modern score, Andrew Norman’s “The Companion Guide to Rome,” performed live.

In “thunder,” we witness a return to costume, further, to color. Wow, color looks so cool in motion. Clad in sharp retro jumpsuits, the able-bodied dancers streak in red, pink, purple, blue. The hues match up, they dart about, they cleave to each other, they create human rainbows. A gorgeous neon-green scrim-like netting circumscribes the space, displaying Tanowitz’s abilities in the proscenium arch, the artful framing she eschewed in her prior New York outing, an ‘in-the-round’ configuration at the Joyce Theater.

Photo credit Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

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