Dance: Powerful Creation

 

   by Anna Marie D'Addarie - Aug 11, 2015

 

“The art of making art is putting it together,” according to the Stephen Sondheim song. But sometimes creating art is difficult, even painful. The journey from idea to art was brought vividly to life in “Created by Carly Simon: Dances at the Yard” the collaboration between choreographer Wendy Taucher and Ms. Simon. The dance and music event opened on August 4 with a gala premiere and will run through August 13. Another celebration will mark closing night.

The three-part program, which includes “Gershwin Variations,” “In Honor of You George,” and “Molto Finito,” was performed without an intermission.

Music was a combination of Gershwin tunes, some of them sung by Ms. Simon, and also Dominico Scarlatti’s music for “Molto Finito.”

“Gershwin Variations,” danced in six movements, was a joyful and at times sensual celebration with George Gershwin as the muse. Some dancers, like Daryl Owens, lock on to the audience, drawing them into the dance. The combination of Ms. Owens dancing and Ms. Simon’s voice in “How Long Has This Been Going On” makes the piece unforgettable.

Three young dancers, Annalie Aplin, Maeve Aplin, and Thea Aplin perform to “I’ve Got Rhythm” and light up the stage with the pure joy of movement. On opening night the audience responded with loud, boisterous applause.

In the fourth movement, six punch-drunk lovers flirt, cavort, and chase, Midsummer-style, to the music “I’ve Got a Crush on You” and to the great delight of the audience.

“In Honor of You George” is a look into the soul of an artist, in this case Ms. Simon, as she tries to find inspiration. The dancer, Paola Styron, portrays a tortured artist in a seemingly downward spiral, driven almost to madness by the voices (internal and external) demanding creativity. At one point Ms. Simon’s voice says she is flirting with the thought of “no more songs.” For the audience, this moment is devastating. Ms. Simon’s song moves from turmoil into a Gershwin phrase “embrace me, my sweet embraceable you.” In the arms of George Gershwin, danced with passion and strength by Kelly Peters, Ms. Styron’s character finds inspiration.

Ms. Taucher asks her dancers to rise to the music by shaping the empty space and filling it with emotion. The playful moments are a needed respite as the powerful sections demand much from the audience.

On opening night the audience rose from their seats and the applause rang out forever. The entire company was joined on stage by Ms. Taucher and Ms. Simon who both congratulated the dancers for bringing their vision to life.

The remaining performances are unfortunately sold out. Those lucky enough to see the show will have a better appreciation of the creative process. For most artists, art does not arrive full-blown and beautiful. Sometimes the process is painful, but for the audience the experience is wonderful.