Poetry in Silence: My Last Post on the Michalek Exhibit, I Swear!

Okay, I’ll have everyone know that it is currently between the hours of 9 pm and 1 am and I am NOT, I repeat NOT, on Lincoln Center Plaza!!! This is a huge step forward for me; yes, I feel that I am steadily on my way to overcoming my addiction…

Here are some pictures from last night, Sunday, when I attended “Slow Dancing” for my fourth time in, yes, the mere four days the exhibit has shown, this time with my fellow blogger, Oberon. It was a “schmoozing with the artists” night for us:

Oberon cutely peeking over his shoulder at me. And, in the background is Michalek (in red bandana) talking to the filmed dancer on crutches, whose name I now know (thanks to the playbills near the State Theater entrance :) ) to be Bill Shannon, or “Crutchmaster.”

And here is Philip with his favorite ballerina, the spectacularly amazing, and, given her enormous status, almost ridiculously nice and personable, Wendy Whelan:

Sorry to be going on about it ad nauseam now, but I’m just so excited about this exhibit because I feel like it has so much potential to be really powerful. It’s like ballet for the masses, and I LOVE it.

Interesting thing about last night was, unlike the previous ones, there was no Midsummer Night Swing. So it was shown in stunningly dead silence. At first Philip and I were thinking, hmmm, this is going to be odd without music, maybe they could have classical or something?… But then after it began we agreed it was really quite beautiful, really poetic this way. Actually, it was more like a regular concert dance performance, like being at the ballet, but outside. And in this poetic silence, I feel like my previous suggestion of having the dancers’ names on the screens, would be as ludicrous as having an announcer yell out names, SuperBowl style, during a Met performance. But then, I still think it would make good sense to post the names prominently during the MNS crowd, because those people are not going to go running up to the State Theater to pick up a brochure or search for a poster; in that context, it needs to be easier.

Anyway, the lack of raucous crowd enables you really to focus on the odd beauty of the movement; I saw many things I’d missed before. Of course I had Philip and Wendy as guides. Wendy told us to watch for Allegra Kent, a former prima ballerina who danced many a performance, with the New York City Ballet, right inside that State Theater. At the start of her routine, she briefly turns her back to you, the viewer here, in order to face her beloved theater, and, inside, her audiences past. She raises her arms up high, in eternal gratitude to them, to what happened beyond those doors, now long ago. It’s such a poignant gesture of reverance to those fans, to the past, and, given who she is, to ballet history in general, and you just want to cry.

And I guess that’s why I want there to be a way of spreading that message to everyone; if you don’t know who she is, I fear she may just look like some weird lady casting a spell or something, you know? And that would be just a travesty.

When Janie Taylor came on, Philip squealed, grabbed my arm and galloped, dragging me along behind, over to the far right of the plaza, beyond the Midsummer Stage, where we could have a full view — something that definitely wouldn’t have been possible if it was a social dance night.

(above photo of Janie Taylor taken from Time Out New York‘s website).

“Oooh, her hair, look at her hair, look at her hair!” he screamed, flailing about so wildly he really could’ve knocked me out had I been a little closer. Funny, but that flying mane did look cooly like a waterfall this time. Philip should be a professional laugher, or whatever those people are called who get paid to fire up the audience.

So, I dunno; I feel like my perception of the event, of the spectacle, varies on the context. There was still a congregation, but of course nowhere near the size of that on a Midsummer Night. It was a night for the true diehards. I’m glad I saw it when it was quiet and I could really concentrate (and meet Wendy!), but I still love watching with the Swingers, seeing what they see. (Thanks, by the way, to Michele, who commented on my last post, giving her view from that salsa mosh pit!) I have seen many of the social dancers, taking breaks, stand back and gaze up, and try to imitate some of the moves. You develop a dance aesthetic as a watcher / participant and it’s fun to try to mirror those screen giants, so long as no one gets hurt with some crazy over-the-head leg extension… :)

6 Comments

  1. Did I really scream when Janie came on??? LOL…

    I’m thinking of going back to see the installation again…on a Sunday, of course!

  2. Hehe, it was really fun watching it with you! I’m sure I’ll be there Sunday too — and this time Wei HAS to come, no weaseling out!

  3. i guess i’ll have to pretend the dorothy chandler pavilion is the ny state theater…VERY eager to see Allegra Kent, did you know she’s a professor of dance at Barnard?? Such a legendary ballerina, so close to my school…I wish I coulda watched a class with her teaching or something.

    i think it’s amazing the dancers give homage to lincoln center that way.

    thanks for the review, it’s coming to LA soon….and thankfully, no Midsummer Night’s Swing there, it’ll be beautiful, surrounding the beautiful fountain at the Music Center Plaza.

  4. Oh that’s right, Jennifer! I think it would have a similar effect on any theater facade though — it will become a tribute to faithful dance fans everywhere :) No, I didn’t know she’s professor at Barnard — wow, that would have been cool if you would have been able to see her teach while you were at Columbia!

  5. Hi Tonya —

    You don’t know me, but I’ve been reading your blog for several weeks now after happening upon it by accident while looking for information on Pasha, your former teacher and now contestant on SYTYCD. I have had your blog linked in my blog since the day I found it, actually. :)

    The exhibit you type of sounds wonderful. I love dance and photography and the combination must be ideal.

    At any rate, you have a reader and fan in North Carolina, who hopes you don’t mind if she says, TAG! You’re IT!

    I am currently involved in a blogging game of tag with a number of bloggers from varying writers sites I know and since you are a blogger and novelist, as well as lawyer and dancer, I thought you’d be an ideal participant.

    In this game you write eight interesting things about yourself in your blog and then forward them to eight blogging friends. I realize we are not friends, technically, but I have a feeling we’d get along. I certainly appreciate the POV you offer your readers in your blog. And the dance photos!

    So please, Tonya. Play tag with us! :)

  6. EIGHT!?! Haha, thanks Virginia! I remember when I first started my blog and I used to read others’ and they’d get “tagged” all the time, and I felt so left out! So, thanks for including me! I’ll try to come up with something soon… Fun fun :) And thanks for introducing yourself and letting me know how you found me! Pasha :) :) :)

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