Fact No. 26 – Ad libitum

I’m so glad I was able to attend Daniel Burkholder / The Playground’s performance of Ad Libitum this weekend at Joe’s Movement Emporium in Hyattsville, MD.  As the company’s inaugural ‘Open Technology Performance’, the audience was invited to “video or photograph tonight’s performance, and edit and post it to the Internet…You are also encouraged to tweet, text or update your status as the performance is happening” – provided that we link back to the company’s website and share our findings.  Here’s the link back to DB/The Playground’s website, as requested.  The show was a beautiful series of improv scores influenced by meditation and meditative movement, which Daniel likened to jazz composition –  the performers knew the basic form of each piece, for example, but not necessarily how and when and by whom the solos would be taken.  Daniel’s choreography, which honors and accepts the full range of improv’s possibilities when there are warm, real, human bodies moving together in space and time, allows you to project meanings of your own onto what you’re seeing, even as it sets in motion abstract, though unmistakable inquiries about relationship and connection.  The last piece – the company’s ‘redirection’ of Richard Bull’s Jesus’s Blood – was exquisite and moving, full of spirals and otherworldly focus.  Not only is the concept of ‘redirecting’ a Bull piece with the full permission of his estate a fascinating challenge (‘The goal is not, for example, to use the movement style of the original RBDT trio, or to recreate the same chemistry of later constellations of the company, but rather to find the dance through through the structure- again.’), but Daniel’s personalization of it gave dancers and audience alike entry into the heart of improvised movement where focus leads to meditation, and then to freedom.


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