Thirty years ago, three creative titans—choreographer Lucinda Childs, composer Phillip Glass, and artist Sol LeWitt—teamed up to create DANCE, a beautiful piece as straight forward as its title. The seminal work, which mixed film, music, and performance well before multimedia became a buzzword, won instant acclaim upon its debut and received an American Masterpiece Award from the NEA. It looks and sounds as fresh and innovative today, especially with a digitally remastered score and film.
The project originated when Childs designed the movement for Glass' opera Einstein on the Beach. He enjoyed their collaboration so much that he suggested they work together again, this time with good friend LeWitt. At first, LeWitt thought he had nothing to contribute. Thankfully, he was convinced otherwise.
The artist created an elegant black and white grid to complement the geometric precision of Childs' movement, then filmed her and other performers moving across it. During the piece, LeWitt's film is projected onto a scrim in front of the stage, so that the dancers appear as ghostly giants. Live dancers move behind it, sometimes in sync with their movie counterparts, at other times in counterpoint. The different levels of movement create a visual rhythm that matches Glass's syncopated score.
It sounds complicated, but take a look—the piece is hauntingly gorgeous in its austerity. There's no story or concept, just pure music and motion. Whether you're a dance veteran or a newbie, plan on zenning out and feasting your senses.
Need more convincing? Formerly a movie theater (a pornographic one at that!), you can't find a bad seat in the intimate Joyce Theater. And with recession-friendly ticket prices starting at 10$, you'd think it was still 1979.