Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Heady Brew

So, this week in the Bay Area Reporter, my feature about UK choreographer Mark Brew setting a new piece on AXIS Dance company was published. I took another perusal of some online videos. Above is a montage of a few previously created AXIS dances, and Mark's work.

His "Nocturne" male-female duet is pretty amazing. I see it as a metaphor for romance or sex, since there's a bed. It kind of asks the question that people ask disabled people, and which I explore (perhaps a little too fully) in my book: "What do you do in bed?"

Well, Brew made a dance in and out of a bed. I'll have to ask him if his dance is that literal, but I doubt it.

I have to say, for the first time in years, I was a bit daunted to interview dancers Rodney Bell and Shonserée Giles; not because they'd been on TV. Duh. Just because they're pretty amazing dancers.

It was easier to talk with director Judith Smith about the production aspect, and to Brew about the abstract of choreography. But with the dancers, I basically was talking a lot between questions, while in my mind, I was thinking, "Wow. You're cool." Even though I'd danced for years, I still get a bit starstruck.

UPDATE: the opening night concert really amazing. As a former dancer, I can be a bit choosy about modern dance choreography. But the innovations the works undertook occasionally left me gasping. the daring moves that were accomplished, gymnastic tumbling on and off wheelchairs, and, in the case of Brew's work, a bathtub, table and easy chair, evoked a variety of dramatic inter-personal tensions. Dances by company member Sebastian Grubb, New Yorker David Dorffman, and Brew's commissioned new work were simply fascinating.

The audience, which included about 30 people in wheelchairs in the front non-seating area, really enjoyed it. At the reception afterwards, I got to chat more with the affable Brew and other company members and patrons. A great night!

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