courtesy of Garrett + Moulton Productions
While I tend not to follow dance activities on a regular basis, those who have followed my work on both this site and Examiner.com know that I have taken great interest in the collaborative efforts of Janice Garrett and Charles Moulton due to their innovative ways of working with music. As a result, I have been drawn to past performances by virtue of my knowledge of the musicians that would be performing with the dancers. On the other hand the next performance to be presented by Garrett + Moulton Productions will involve only recorded music, but the recorded selections are definitely worthy of attention.
In the words of the company itself, the program will present two premieres that “traverse a vivid visual, musical and theatrical landscape of both the sacred and the profane, evoking a journey of transformation and exploring the capacity of the heart to meet adversity with love and grace.” While some may find this language to be a bit over the top, it provides a fascinatingly viable perspective on one of the major hymns of the Catholic liturgy, the Stabat Mater. I still hold to my aforementioned conviction that the words of this hymn amount to “a monument to pietistic tedium,” whose unrelenting trochaic tetrameter rhythm amounts to a depiction of the nails being driven into the Cross. Nevertheless, those who see beneath the surface to the underlying semantics will find themselves at the heart of adversity confronted with “love and grace.” Fortunately, the composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi seems to have appreciated that semantic infrastructure; and his realization of that infrastructure through music remains to this day one of the major achievements of the first half of the eighteenth century.
Choreography created for that music will be one of the two premieres to be presented by Garrett + Moulton. That choreography will be performed by five dancers (Carolina Czechowska, Gretchen LaWall, Nol Simonse, Haiou Wang, and Miche Wong) and an eighteen-person movement choir (a concept that was also used in the production I covered about two years ago). This approach to Pergolesi will then be contrasted by “Mad Brass,” which opposes the adversity of the Stabat Mater text with unbound joy. This will be high-energy choreography set to recordings of Fanfare Ciocarlia, a twelve-piece Roma brass band based in Romania.
This program will be given four performances at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) Theater. These will take place at 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 6, Friday, September 7, and Saturday, September 8, and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 9. The Theater is located at 700 Howard Street on the northwest corner of Third Street. Orchestra tickets are $42 and those in the Terrace at $35. Students with valid identification will be admitted for $25. YBCA members, seniors, and groups of ten or more receive a 20% discount. There will also be a special gala benefit following the Saturday performance. Tickets that cover both the performance and the gala are priced between $75 and $500. A single Web page has been created on the YBCA Web site with hyperlinks for online purchase of all tickets.