Review

Yvonne Rainer: Dance Works at Raven Row

Yvonne Rainer: Dance Works, Raven Row, 2014
Diagonal (part of Terrain), 1963.
Dancers in training with Pat Catterson and Yvonne Rainer, July 2014.
Photo: Eva Herzog.
Performers: Megan Armishaw, Antigone Avdi, 
 Povilas Bastys, Emilia Gasiorek, Alice MacKenzie, 
Emelie Wangstedt, Sara WookeyYvonne Rainer: Dance Works, Raven Row, 2014 Diagonal (part of Terrain), 1963. Dancers in training with Pat Catterson and Yvonne Rainer, July 2014. Photo: Eva Herzog. Performers: Megan Armishaw, Antigone Avdi, Povilas Bastys, Emilia Gasiorek, Alice MacKenzie, Emelie Wangstedt, Sara Wookey

Raven Row the time capsule

I saw it twice, at the start and half way through. Once I sat at one end of the benches, the other time at the other end with a view of the window and street. I watch the lists unfolding. I watch movement ontology ontologically excavating my own watching. My watching lists and preoccupations. Oh it’s too easy to go into history, into my personal history of that history in mine and it’s enduring effect. This is part of a heritage I am part of. Is this why we occasionally enjoy unison? Mere belonging? Adherence? But here is a collection of history, ideals, tropes and actions that left a legacy so important to me in the expansive project called ‘what is dance’ and ‘what is life’.

Raven Row the work house

I watch faces less pinched this second time. The irony: their instruction is to be more ‘work-like’, an essence indicated through a particular set of dynamic choices, attention to phrasing and rhythm, and inherently reliant upon the figures who dance their work, making those choices. At the beginning was the work of fresher learning, of active memory and trust in the instrument, with the face revealing all the internalisations of getting the job you chose and that chose you correct, in front of its creator and guardian, in the site that now holds it. That work, that pressure, that effect on the muscles behind the eyes. Now actions more internalised fly list-like with evenness, the work on their work-like quality is more possible now the other kind of work is consolidated.

Raven Row and scale

Yes of course I muse over the existential nature of the work, the absurdity, an outpouring from a particular American socio-cultural-political time, with an enjoyment of risk, repetition, meditation and the mundane. What to tell of a story already known. The work holds my hand, it doesn’t high five me. Four sections give me time to delve into looking. I’m happy to sit down and watch. This is immersion enough, for all the skewing of performance frames, my immersion is my prerogative and responsibility. This watching falls alongside other recent watchings of works that were mature, and characterised in all three instances by a sense of economy. Nothing superfluous or excessive, nothing begging for my attention in a way which doubts itself, with all cells committed to their task and where audiences are trusted to get on with the work of attending.

 

 

alt review image

Alternative review in the form of a smoothie recipe:

three slabs concrete

quart of mirth

12 sips of oxygen

a broom

a letter to your 9 year old self typed in sans serif font about dance

the skin cells from the back of your wrist

a banana skin

a shot of crème de menthe

 

Blend. Sieve. Blend. Sieve. Blend. Sieve.

Assemble.

Sniff.

Drink slowly, whilst the span of your head that arcs between your ears feels like it is getting a bit wider.

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