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Flynn Center Blog

Tax Savings Strategies through Charitable Giving

by Sandy Enman, Flynn Board of Directors and CPA

“I have to pinch myself every time I go to a show to believe that yes, we really do have such an amazing resource right here in Burlington. I am awestruck every time I walk into the theater.” —Kurt Hughes

Many people want to support the Flynn and the community work it does: the end of the calendar year can be a good time to act on this desire. Some careful gift planning allows donors to do more than they anticipated, while also providing tax benefits.  It’s a win-win for the Flynn and our supporters.

One way to create a win for both the donor and the Flynn is by making a gift of appreciated stock. Often, with a particular stock appreciating, a donor’s overall portfolio needs to be further diversified so stock can be transferred inkind.  For example, rather than selling the stock and paying tax on the capital gain, a taxpayer contributes the shares directly to the Flynn. If a cash contribution of $1,000 is made, an individual would save $350 in taxes assuming they were in the 35% tax bracket. The cost of the contribution is $650.

Another simple tax reduction strategy for individuals over 70 ½ years of age is to make a qualified charitable donation of part or all of their required minimum distribution from their Individual Retirement Account ( up to $100,000) directly to charity.  This provision of the law is expected to be extended by Congress in December 2014. Check with your financial advisor to confirm. Naming a charity as beneficiary of your IRA is another simple way to make a donation saving on estate and income taxes.

It’s important to consult your tax advisor to consider the implications of these choices and how they fit into your overall financial plan. To learn about gift planning, we invite you to visit our website at www.flynncenter.org/plannedgiving.html.

Development Director Gina Haddock (802-652-4533 or rhaddock@flynncenter.org) can help if you’d like information about supporting a specific program such as the Flynn Student Matinee Series or FlynnArts scholarships.

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A Festive Christmas Carol

by Anne Averyt, Burlington Writers Workshop

Review of A Christmas Carol at the Flynn on Friday, December 12.

The Flynn was alive with the sound of music, laughter and bah-humbugging on Friday night as the Nebraska Theatre Caravan staged an animated, imaginative production of the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol.

Music mixed with color, costuming, movement and mirth in this version of the tale of tight-fisted Ebenezer Scrooge and the eerie ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future. The performance was enhanced with elaborate Broadway-style staging, imaginative costuming and a dynamic, talented 23-member cast. There was high energy, merriment and just the right amount of ghostly menace to win the hearts of those in the audience, which was made up mostly of multigenerational families.

Nils Haaland as Scrooge stole the show. He was a tour de force, animated and engaging; by turns menacing and playful. Haaland did it all and the audience loved it. Kids and adults alike laughed as his Scrooge slurped his soup, warmed his bottom in front of the fire, shimmied lizard-like across the stage, and finally, found his heart. This was a Scrooge for the ages — all ages — and in the audience, the young and the young at heart shared a special space.

My second favorite stage presence was the eerie, towering Ghost of Christmas Future, though for effect the Ghost of Christmas Present, his head aflame with a crown of candles, was a scene stealer. In the best English theatrical tradition, the bit parts were enchanting — the street people, the urchins, the charwomen who strip Scrooge’s bed after discovering him dead. In a separate vein, I liked how the seasonal songs and spirited group dances enhanced the story telling rather than upstaging it.

It’s not easy telling a story that’s been told so many times and so many ways over the years, but I think Dickens would be pleased with Charles Jones’s adaptation of his tale. Jones is the founder and creator of the Nebraska Theater Caravan, and the first performance of his adaptation was in 1975. This year marks the 35th season that the touring troupe has presented the show. It has been performed in over 600 cities in 49 states, playing to a cumulative audience of more than 3 million.

At the Flynn Center the Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s show has become an annual favorite. On Friday night, the audience review for the performance was a standing ovation and wildly enthusiastic applause. The audience got it right. The evening was festive, the story well told, the cast and costumes lively, the music full of holiday joy. A true celebration of the Christmas spirit, capped with Scrooge’s benevolent transformation and Tiny Tim’s triumphant message to one and all, God Bless You Everyone.

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Winter Jazz Preview

by Steve MacQueen, Artistic Director

Between the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, artists on the MainStage and in FlynnSpace, and FlynnArts jazz-combo classes for youth and adults, the Flynn’s commitment to jazz is pretty hard to miss. In the coming winter months, we’ll feature three tremendous jazz artists.

 

Terri Lyne Carrington Quartet: Money Jungle
Friday, January 30 at 8 pm, MainStage

In 1962, a trio of jazz immortals—pianist Duke Ellington, bassist Charles Mingus, and drummer Max Roach—recorded its one and only album, the classic Money Jungle. It was a record that influenced generations and left a lasting imprint on the form.

You’ve got to have a lot of confidence—and a whole lotta chops—to take on a musical legacy like Money Jungle. Honestly, when I first heard the concept, I was ready to dismiss the record out of hand. Redo Money Jungle? It’s like remaking Citizen Kane. Kinda pointless.

Fortunately, drummer/bandleader Terri Lyne Carrington didn’t listen to me, and soundly proved me wrong. Provocations in Blue, her take on the famed session, which plays at the Flynn on Friday, January 30. Possibly the most accomplished drummer of her generation, the 49-year-old Carrington has beaten the skins for Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Dianne Reeves, and many more, but she’s really starting to shine as a leader.

Her Jungle is both reverent of its source and open-minded in its approach, adding original material, traveling down different improvisational paths, and supplementing the trio sound with a saxophone. The result is a marvel of past-meets-present, and the recorded version netted Carrington the Best Jazz Instrumental Album Grammy in 2014. Amazingly, she is the first woman to win the award.

“You have to be able to appreciate the past if you want to have a future,” Carrington has said. “I think that’s a big part of our job as artists and entertainers and educators—to keep reminding the younger musicians how important our predecessors were.”

Gregory Porter
Thursday, February 19 at 7:30 pm, MainStage

There is little doubt that Gregory Porter is a jazz singer. His music is filed under that genre, it’s a description he answers to, and he won the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album, so . . . jazz singer.

But to me, Porter’s voice and approach are also reminiscent of the early-‘70s R&B sound (sometimes dubbed “folk-soul”) exemplified by such adventurous artists as Bill Withers, Terry Callier, and Donny Hathaway. With his soulful, expressive baritone steeped in gospel, Porter connects the dots between Nat King Cole and the present, between jazz, pop, funk, and soul. And he’s happy to acknowledge it.

“There are songs (in my set) that a 68-year-old grandma likes,” Porter explains. “And there are hard-hitting, more bass- and funk-infused things. That’s part of my vocabulary as well. And I don’t do them as a separate part of the show—they co-mingle and co-exist.”

Porter didn’t start out seeking a career as “the next great male jazz singer” (NPR). As a football player at San Diego State University, Porter suffered a knee injury that ended any dreams of pro sports, but led to something better. He might have been an okay linebacker, but he’s one hell of a singer. Onstage, Porter dominates the proceedings, projecting an infectious joy that cannot be faked.

And as for that kangol hat that he wears all the time, well . . . “It’s my thing,” he says. Good enough for me.

Fred Hersch Trio
Friday, February 27 at 8 pm, FlynnSpace

When it comes to critical praise for jazz pianists, Fred Hersch practically has the market cornered:

“A master.” —New York Times

“The most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade.” —Vanity Fair

“Truly transcendent.” —Boston Globe

“Fred is like LeBron James on the basketball court. He’s perfection.” —Jason Moran

And there’s more where that came from. At age 58, Hersch is finally getting some of his due, having long been one of the most adept and adventurous musicians in jazz, an artist who simultaneously traverses the avant-garde and the beautiful. Oh, and he swings, too.
Hersch plays FlynnSpace with his longtime trio, featuring bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson. The Wall Street Journal calls this trio “one of the major ensembles of our times.”

As a jazz musician, Hersch has played with the great musicians of the era. As a composer, he’s contributed some of the most enduring music of the past 25 years. As a pianist, he’s collaborated with musicians outside the jazz world, including Renee Fleming, Christopher O’Riley, and Audra MacDonald. And as an educator, he has influenced nurtured the next generation of jazz pianists, such as former students Brad Mehldau and Ethan Iverson (The Bad Plus).

It’s hard to put this bluntly enough, but here goes: no jazz fan should miss the opportunity to see this band in this intimate space. It’s an amazing treat that should not be passed up. If I’m running late, save me a seat near the front, piano side.

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Darkness to Light with Sweet Honey in the Rock

by Josh McDonald, Burlington Writers Workshop

Review of Sweet Honey in the Rock at the Flynn on Thursday, December 4, 2014.

The Ballad of Harry T. Moore was a kind of centerpoint for the Sweet Honey in the Rock: Celebrating the Holydays concert. A musical setting of a Langston Hughes poem about a civil rights worker and his wife who were murdered on Christmas Eve in 1951, it isn’t exactly your typical holiday song. But then, Sweet Honey in the Rock isn’t here to do your typical holiday concert.

Oh, they’ve got plenty of holiday cheer throughout – a rollicking rendition of “Children Go Where I Send Thee” along with some lesser-known, uplifting songs. But really, cheer and merriment are only half of what the season is about. And Sweet Honey in the Rock takes it deeper.

“Those who walk in darkness have seen a great light.” This line from the prophet Isaiah is a common part of the seasonal liturgies this time of year, and it gets at the ancient and universal reason for these celebrations. Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, we all celebrate that the darkness of winter is giving way to a brighter future. And upon this physical reality of the change of seasons we impose our metaphorical hopes and dreams. It’s the season of renewed hope.

It is upon this theme, of hope overcoming adversity, that the concert is structured. The first half, seasoned as it is with some holiday cheer (like the afore-mentioned “Children Go Where I Send Thee”), does dwell in darkness. They unflinchingly take on problems of the day with songs like “Women Gather” – a song over a decade old which might as well have been written in response to the past week’s news – and “Greed,” a wry commentary on the dark side of this holiday season.

Then, early in the second half, comes “The Ballad of Henry T. Moore” and a pivot in tone. It’s a story of injustice and murder, but with an optimistic refrain.

“No bomb can kill the dreams I hold/For freedom never dies!”

From that point on, the concert is unequivocally upbeat and celebratory. With that refrain we have found our light in the darkness, which the darkness cannot overcome. And thus do the women of Sweet Honey in the Rock usher us into a true celebration of the holiday season.

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Nothing to Pout About this Christmas

by Anne Averyt, Burlington Writers Workshop

Preview of Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s A Christmas Carol at the Flynn on Friday, December 12 at 7 pm. Get tickets at www.flynntix.org.

The two things I remember about Christmas Eve when I was young were the traditions of decorating the Christmas tree and listening to my grandfather read from Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol.  Or, I should say, my grandfather trying to read the holiday classic. A houseful of children with heads full of sugarplum fairies and the anticipation of reindeer prancing and pawing on the rooftop, made it difficult to sit and listen to old-fashioned Dickensonian prose.

Too bad we couldn’t have bundled up instead and hopped in the car to visit the Flynn for the Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s performance of the Dickens classic. When I settle into my seat on December 12 for this special production, I’m anticipating a magical holiday evening. From everything I’ve read online–and the clips on Youtube–it will be quite a show. One that is family friendly, weaving color, dance, music and creative staging into a tapestry of storytelling to mesmerize children and adults alike.

The Broadway-style staging for the show is elaborate, the costumes are colorful and imaginative and the music rollicking. It will all make for a memorable re-telling of the story of crotchety Ebenezer Scrooge and the eerie ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future. I must admit, as a child, I was a little scared of the Dickens story.  I was frightened not only by mean Ebenezer but afraid of those spirits dragging their chains and visiting graveyards.

Fortunately, the Flynn experience, while faithful to Dickens’ fable, promises to add merriment in its re-telling. According to the Nebraska Theater’s website, this production is “rich with thrilling ensemble music, alive with color and movement created to tell this great and enduring tale in a manner that people of all ages will enjoy.”

An annual holiday touring classic, the Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol is now entering its 35th season. The touring troupe has performed Charles Jones adaptation A Christmas Carol in over 600 cities in 49 states and 4 Canadian provinces to an audience of more than 3 million.

The show features a cast of 24 performers, live musicians and an array of holiday songs from God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, the Wassail song and Away in a Manger, to Greensleeves and The Boar’s Head Carol.  It’s been described as a “sumptuous annual holiday classic” that audiences cherish and at the Flynn Center, it’s become an annual favorite.

I know I’ll be in my seat at the Flynn on December 12th awaiting the evening’s performance with great anticipation.  For me this promises to be the beginning of a new holiday tradition.  Why not bring your family and join in the fun?

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Animal Power

by John Killacky, Executive Director

Exhibit runs Friday, December 5 through Saturday, February 28.

Join us for an opening in the Amy E. Tarrant Gallery this Friday, December 5 at 5:30 pm. Many of the participating artists will be present; Stephen Leslie talks about his book, The New Horse-Powered Farm and Katie Runde discusses her children’s book Wilhelmina Goes Wandering.

What a fun adventure it’s been to put together this exhibition on Vermont’s animal-powered transportation and agriculture. As the owner of a Shetland pony that pulls me in a cart, I’ve formed relationships with many horse folks across the state. I’ve also enjoyed field day demonstrations with the Green Mountain Draft Horse Association—the majesty of these gentle giants and their teamsters working the fields together in perfect harmony is sublime as they demonstrated plowing, seeding, growing, reaping, binding, and threshing.

Further inspiration for this exhibition came from Stephen Leslie’s The New Horse-Powered Farm, a new book published by Chelsea Green Publishing. Leslie manages an organic farm in Hartland, and his book is a wonderful 21st century compendium celebrating the renaissance of farming with horse-drawn equipment. Tips on breed attributes, training, care for workhorses, and appropriate tools, as well as techniques for fertilizing, tilling, cultivating, and harvesting are illustrated with a plethora of photos. The book is augmented by first person narratives from various teamsters, farmers, and draft horse aficionados.

I also contacted curators and archivists around the state, and sat with them as they lovingly culled from their collections, selecting artwork pertinent to the contributions of draft animals to agricultural and transportation efforts. Animal Power includes historical and contemporary photographs, prints, paintings, drawings, and ephemera drawn from Bryan Memorial Gallery, City of Burlington, Dog Mountain, Essex Community Historical Society, Fleming Museum, Free Press Media, Frog Hollow, Grass Roots Arts & Community Effort (GRACE) Gallery, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Merchants Bank, Richmond Historical Society, Rocky Dale Gardens, Shelburne Farms, and Shelburne Museum. Artists were also contacted, and you’ll enjoy many of their contributions to the exhibition. They include: Kevin Fahey, Laura Hamilton, Stephen Leslie, Tina Mauss, Dona Ann McAdams, Peter Miller, Jean Nichols Cross, Katie Runde, Hannah Sessions, and Rett Sturman.

I hope you’ll join me for the opening celebration of Animal Power on Friday, December 5 at 5:30 pm in the Amy E. Tarrant Gallery. Many of the participating artists will be present; Stephen Leslie talks about his book, The New Horse-Powered Farm and Katie Runde discusses her children’s book Wilhelmina Goes Wandering.

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Assertively Modern and Obsessively Aesthetic

by Erin Duffee

Review of Martha Graham Dance Company at the Flynn on November 21, 2014.

It was such a treat to see Martha Graham’s iconic works performed within the Art Deco framing of our local theater, which was built around the same time that her company was taking shape in New York City. Art Deco was a popular style of décor in the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s, characterized by rich colors, bold geometric shapes and lavish ornamentation. It is the perfect backdrop to Martha Graham’s choreography, which I dare say is characterized by the same very things! Both the décor and the artist are symbolic of the assertively modern and obsessively aesthetic generation that flourished during the years between World War I and II.

While the reign of Art Deco ended in the 1940s, Martha Graham carried on for several decades more, continuing her sovereignty as the Grande Dame of Modern Dance into the early 1990’s. She passed away in 1991 at the age of 96, but her legacy lives on as more than a memory through the performances of the Martha Graham Dance Company, currently under the artistic direction of Janet Eilber. Eilber belongs to a select group of dancers that worked directly under Martha Graham as lead soloists in her company. As a result, Eilber has a uniquely detailed understanding of Graham’s movement theory and choreography, which she uses to restage Graham’s iconic works for present-day audiences. Eilber has also commissioned several new works from contemporary choreographers, which draw inspiration either directly from Graham’s repertoire or from the rich historical and thematic narratives that Graham used for inspiration. The “Lamentation Variations” is a new choreography concept that Eilber put together in 2007. Several choreographers were invited to create a dance inspired by Graham’s famous solo “Lamentation”.  All of the choreographers had to adhere to the same set of basic guidelines: 10 hours of rehearsal, public domain music or silence, simple costumes and light design. The other contemporary dance piece, “Echo,” was commissioned as celebration of Graham’s love of Greek mythology in modern dance. Unlike “Variations,” which is an ongoing project with multiple choreographers, “Echo,” was created by a single choreographer, Adonis Foniadakis.

The company dancers demonstrated great versatility, transitioning with ease between the historic works of Graham’s early modern dance canon and the newer contemporary dance pieces commissioned in her honor. With nearly 70 years between the premiere of the program’s opening dance, “Diversion of Angels,” and “Echo” which premiered last Spring, there were naturally significant differences in treatment of themes, choreography, and aesthetic details such as costumes and lighting. The dancers upheld the integrity of each piece with careful attention to detail, a difficult challenge considering how stylized Graham’s choreography is. I did not realize that Friday’s performance would be equally split between new and old works of dance, but in the end I felt glad that it was. For someone who has studied Graham for years as a figurehead in dance history, the show was a lovely opportunity to view both past and present expressions of her legacy in performance. The evening felt beautifully nostalgic but it was not without excitement, a fact for which I’m sure Graham would have been very pleased.

A Deeper Look at Martha Graham’s Diversion of Angels

“Diversion of Angels,” premiered in 1948, the same year that Martha Graham wed Eric Hawkins, a young male dancer in her company. It is a playful and luminous ode to love that explores the joys and pains of romance through different stages of life. Graham cast three couples, each one symbolizing a different era of love in a woman’s life. The men seemed to play interchangeable supporting roles; they all performed shirtless with brown pants and they danced only with their lovers or as a men’s corps, never breaking from the mold for a solo moment of any kind. The women on the other hand were highly distinguishable. Their movement and costumes were specifically chosen to express the era of love they symbolized. The mature lover wore white and moved slowly and lyrically across the stage . . . the erotic lover wore bright red, moving quickly about the stage with big dramatic movements and often dancing alone, as if her love might have more to do with a liberated self than long term relationships . . . the youthful adolescent wore yellow, buoyantly skipping across the stage and dancing playfully with her partner. The bright colors and varied movement qualities of this dance create a lovely aesthetic texture that makes the piece feel like a painting in motion.

Most dance critics regard “Angels” as a light-hearted curtain raiser and for good reason, as it has traditionally been used as a show opener since it’s New York City premiere in 1948. But it is hard not to wonder, what deeper meanings lay within the theme for Graham. As mentioned earlier, the piece premiered the same year that Graham was married for the first and only time to dancer, Eric Hawkins. There is no doubt that “Angels,” was inspired by the early years of Graham and Hawkins’ affair. For Graham, love proved to be a rich artistic theme, most beautifully expressed beyond the confines of reality.  The marriage itself was short and tumultuous, lasting only three years before Hawkins left to become a solo artist in love and in dance. “Angels,” is said to be one of very few dances that Martha never cast herself in, even before the divorce. Perhaps she used the piece as a way to physically draw out some of her more conceptual ideas about love. Maybe she felt most attached to the lady in red, unable to relinquish her independence to another person. The piece may have confirmed in some way that dance was the only entity to which she could truly let herself become vulnerable.

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Sweet Honey in the Rock Sings the World into Being

by Josh McDonald, Burlington Writers Workshop

Preview of Sweet Honey in the Rock’s holiday concert Celebrating the Holydays at the Flynn on Thursday, December 4. Get tickets at www.flynntix.org.

In the Beginning was the Song – or so says one of my all-time favorite creation myths.

In the opening chapter of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, the World is sung into being. God provides the theme and the Ainur (what we’d call Angels) take it up, improvise upon it, their voices blending and harmonizing and ultimately creating a world that is magnificent and beautiful.

“ . . . and a sound arose of endless interchanging melodies woven in harmony . . .”

Like the Ainur, the women of Sweet Honey in the Rock sing of the world they want to live in. Drawing from ancient texts and modern speeches, using melodies new and traditional, they sing of peace, justice, and equality for all. Their music is steeped in the traditions of Gospel and folk, but they keep it contemporary.

And stylistically, their music reflects these ideals. This isn’t just five voices singing in harmony. These are five vibrant, exuberant singers, each with her own unique take on the song being sung. It would be easy enough, under those conditions, for the whole thing to fall apart. In Tolkien’s story, there is one among the Ainur who creates discord (there’s always one, in creation myths), introducing his own music in opposition to what the others are singing.

But the egalitarian musicality of Sweet Honey in the Rock manages individuality without discord. Each voice has her own style, her own individual take on the song, and each of these distinct voices is woven with the others into a vibrantly melodious whole.  If you attend their concert, don’t be surprised if they encourage you to add your own voice to the music. Inclusivity is just part of the program.

It’s not unusual for music to take the world as it is, to reflect life and experiences in a way we can recognize and relate to. There is nothing wrong with that, but I think there is another type of music that goes deeper. Like the Music of the Ainur, this music envisions a world that does not yet exist but should. And it just might be that, the more we sing this type of music the more we bring about the creation of this idealized world. It’s something I hope for; I believe the women of Sweet Honey in the Rock also share in that hope.

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Review of Martha Graham Dance Company

by Cynthia Close, Burlington Writers Workshop

Review of Martha Graham Dance Company at the Flynn on November 21, 2014.

A mix of classics and cutting-edge choreography brought the sold out crowd to their feet in a standing ovation that nearly raised the roof of the Flynn Theater on Friday night.

It has taken me awhile to become reacquainted with the pleasures of contemporary dance but thanks to the in depth, thoughtful dance programming at the Flynn this season I have become much more appreciative of an art form that I first encountered over 50 years ago.

The performance of the Martha Graham Dance Company was an education in the past, opening with Diversion of Angels (originally titled Wilderness Stair, 1948), a plotless dance woven together with color and symbolizing three aspects of love; a couple in red emblematic of romantic love, a couple in yellow flitting across the stage with the unpredictability of flirtatious adolescent love, and the more solemn respectfulness of mature love indicated by the couple in white. Through the process of dance, the relationship of bodies to each other, we become very much aware of the distinctly individual world that surrounds two people in love at various stages in their lives.

We were then treated to Lamentation Variations that premiered on September 11, 2007. The theater was silent; there was no music, when a larger than life moving image of Martha Graham in the 1940’s performing Lamentation, her seminal solo, appeared on the big screen in center stage. Her movements were mesmerizing. Then the theater went dark followed by three different choreographers response to the original Graham solo piece. The contemporary version was conceived by Graham Company artistic director Janet Eilber, who asked choreographers Larry Keigwin, Richard Move and Bulareyaung Pagarlava to create their own versions of Lamentation.

It was hard to imagine a more arresting experience than Lamentation but the dancers out did themselves in the second half of the program with the forceful and somewhat scary Errand Into the Maze from 1947. It was a physical stress test for dancer Ben Schultz whose acrobatics as the Creature of Fear were pretty astounding.

But my personal favorite was Echo the most contemporary and final dance of the evening. The music by Julien Tarride combined with the choreography of Andonis Foniadakis in an emotional tour de force reflecting on vanity, beauty, and problematic love which literally lifted the audience up in appreciation. It was the most rewarding performance of contemporary dance I’d ever experienced. And it happened right here in Vermont.

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Connection, Tension, and Revelation

by Lizzy Fox, Burlington Writers Workshop

Review of Martha Graham Dance Company at the Flynn on Friday, November 21.

Last night’s performance by Martha Graham Dance Company featured four pieces: Diversion of Angels, Lamentation Variations, Errand into the Maze, and Echo. The former three performances were choreographed by Martha Graham, and the fourth is a new piece by Andonis Foniadakis. While the style of each dance is unique, there are some shared themes. In their own way, each deals with the demons we face in our inner lives and the manifestation of those demons in interpersonal relationships. I’m no dance critic, so I won’t try to review the merit of what I saw in any great detail. Instead, I’d like to offer some moments that stood out for me:

  1. Diversion of Angels presents three pairs of lovers. The couple in yellow are supposed to represent a bubbly “adolescent” love and are featured during all the high-octave, fast-paced piano solos. For me, they were the most fun to watch. They stole the show when the woman in yellow jumped from the floor to a seated position on her partner’s shoulder.
  2. Lamentation Variations opens with a video of Graham’s famous Lamentation solo and follows with a series of short ensemble pieces. One of sections ends with four male dancers carrying the female lead off-stage upside-down and holding herself in a perfect vertical line.
  3. Errand into the Maze includes a monster in flesh-toned clothing with something like a leg of panty-hose stretched over his head so that he appears naked and faceless. He holds an oversized bone the length of a walking stick behind his neck and hooks his elbows over the top, invoking the image of a man in the stocks. Throughout the dance, he assails a female dancer, trapping her between his legs in wide slow steps and stretching his fingers up as if to grab her (though he can’t). While she finally overcomes him, his appearance may give me nightmares for weeks.
  4. Echo is loosely based on the story Narcissus and Echo. The two male leads portraying Narcissus and his reflection are captivated by one another, rarely breaking eye contact as they dive and bound across the stage. Their commitment to each other held my own attention completely captive, and I am left today with an image of the two of them rolling on the floor, lost in one another’s eyes.

Each of these moments, and many others, displays an intensity of connection—connection between two characters, between a dancer and her inner monsters, and a connection with one’s own self. These relationships are rife with tension and with love. They evoke sorrow, fear, and triumph. In my preview post, I spoke about the importance of breath in dance and art. As an audience member, I spent much of the time last night holding my breath as the movement of connection, tension, and revelation played out.

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Flynn Center for the Performing Arts

Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
153 Main Street, Burlington, Vermont 05401
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