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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Being.Here.NOW. with Pat Catterson

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Moments of NOW.
(photos courtesy of Pat Catterson)

I love dancers, and I love dancing, and I find it meaningful and beautiful and spiritual.
--Pat Catterson
I do, too. All of the above. And if you feel the same way, you'd likely enjoy NOW., a challenging experiment choreographer Pat Catterson and Paul Galando conducted yesterday at NYU Tisch Dance and New Media, which Galando directs. Aside from being an experiment in bringing ocean-separated dancers together in real time via Skype™, it was simply an afternoon of lovely movement by seventeen skilled and lovely movers spanning time zones.

An audience member could freely move between and sit or stand in two studios--the second one divided into two performance spaces--to watch the simultaneous performances. Studio 1 held several monitors and a wide projection screen, and it hosted a series of solos, group movement sequences and a video of Catterson dancing the material. The spaces on the left and right sides of Studio 2 each had its own screen and hosted a series of duets.

"No one will see everything," Catterson noted. "But everyone will see all the dancers" over seventy minutes or so. "The seams will show. It's technology. The seams are part of the experience."

Technical seams did indeed show but, as far as I could see, not until late in the game with all seventeen dancers waiting to perform together in Studio 1 as present bodies or distant images. But by that time, I suspect, nobody begrudged a few glitches here or there.

In Studio 2, individually-performed duets overlapped in-studio dancers with onscreen folks from places like Buenos Aires and Amsterdam and Tokyo. The design was most often clean, open, like fine, sprightly lines on watercolor paper drawn in a confident hand. The energy was all in those lines, nothing overdramatic or extraneous, although perky playfulness (Aisha in Paris at 6:37; Macy here in New York at 12:37) or watchful curiosity sometimes sparked between duet partners.

In Studio 1, a glance and smile might bridge gaps between dancers of the ensemble. As each of Studio 2's duets concluded or were about to begin, one or another dancer would exit Studio 1's ensemble or return to it, giving a sense of the dance as a sprawling continuum continuously refreshing itself.

"I have an excellent memory, back to when I was three," Catterson said in the post-performance Q&A. "Past, present and future are one. The present is just one thing."

As a watcher, I could create my experience through my own movement in space--from room to room, from standing to sitting. It came to feel as if dance could be an everyday thing going on all day. I could be present for all without tiring.

If Catterson gets her wish, she'll find a museum willing to host NOW., and run it all day. Fingers crossed!

NOW. Dancers:

Irina Baldini (Amsterdam)
Gry Bech-Hanssen (Oslo)
Brynt Beitman (New York)
Mauro Sebastian Cacciatore (Buenos Aires)
Emilia Gasiorek (Copenhagen)
Pierre Guilbault (New York)
Sarah Haarmann (New York)
Gina Ianni (New York)
Tomoko Maeda (Tokyo)
Adele Nickel (New York
Maia Ramnath (New York)
Rodolfo Saraiva (Dortmund)
Sania Strimbakou (Athens)
Macy Sullivan (New York)
Asha Thomas (Paris)
Joshua Tuason (New York)
Maria Uppin (Tallinn)


See NOW. today at noon.
NYU Tisch, 111 Second Avenue, 4th Floor, Manhattan


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