Daily Archives: October 1, 2009

A stairway to purgatory

The dancers of [purtgatorio] POPOPERA in dress rehearsal at the Joyce Theater. (AFP photo)

Vocalist Michaela Riener, center, and two dancers in a dress rehearsal at the Joyce Theater. (AFP photo)

I couldn’t help but think of Led Zeppelin as the score Michael Gordon wrote for Emio Greco | PC‘s dance piece [purgatorio] POPOPERA unspooled at the Joyce Theater last night. Michael, one of the three founders of the Bang on a Can new-music organization, is very much a product of rock and roll, and his compositions are heavily influenced by a rock aesthetic, in this case Zep.

Dance is not my favorite form of performance, but the prospect of hearing interesting and provocative music keeps drawing me into the dance theater. I’ve sat through many mystifying dances just to hear the music.

But [purgatorio] POPOPERA was a pleasant surprise. Emio Greco‘s choreography and the dancing were as inspired — and inspiring — as the music. That seems to stem from the fact that the work is a total collaboration between the visual and the aural, as Michael uses the dancers as the band, making them play the score on electric guitars while dancing. Continue reading