DONALD BYRD AND CHARLES WUORINEN
November 9, 2015
Donald Byrd came to town to perform his challenging piece Minstrel Show Revisited downtown. An impressive work that challenges racial stereotypes and political correctness, he left behind the politically aggressive dance theater form for abstract dance. A mainstay of Works & Process at the Guggenheim, Pulitzer Prize winning composer, Charles Wuorinen and Donald Byrd came together in a performance featuring Byrd choreography to Wuorinen’s 1979 “Septet.”
The evening opened on a dramatic and richly tuned 2104 work by Wuorinen "Megalith." Afterwards, the two artists spoke about their project and Byrd’s selection of 36 yea- old work.
Wuorinen pointed out Septet is broken up in sections and works as one through-line of music. Dancers from Donald Byrd’s Spectrum Dance Theater are divided into a trio wearing short pants and four in unitards. Vigorous dancing required deep knee bends, and quirky lifts punctuated by shoulder and hip isolations. Byrd latched into a physical connection to the sonically complex quartet led by Fred Sherry on cello. Completely involving, odd numbered dance constellations formed syncopated accents to the score.
This piece is well worth seeing again—as part of a season that runs for more than one night.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis