Go Deeper

IN FLUX: after fantastic, there’s tiny

Posted August 26th, 2008

I visited Kathryn TeBordo’s rehearsal for After Fantastic, one of four short works billed for Mascher Space Coop’s IN FLUX, which will premiere this Friday night at the Arts Bank. After Fantastic will present physical renderings of five of Dorothea Lasky’s poems, from her first collection of poems, AWE. Kathryn is generating her phrase work from Dorothea’s poems, and she is working with tiny.

<%image(20080826-kathryn and dottie.jpg|250|170|Kathryn and Dottie rehearse)%>I wonder: how do you work with tiny?

She explains that the dancers’ challenge “…is to hurl themselves through the execution of the tiniest movements and the strictest choreography, a full-bodied translation of the physicality of Dorothea Lasky’s reading style. While Dottie’s volume is not a scream, her voice comes through with such intention and delivery as though she’s launching her poems into existence…”

I sneaked into the Painted Bride while the dancers were working on a phrase. At first, they did it in silence, moving in unison in a short phrase of sharp, contained actions and gestures. Then, Kathryn picked up a book and began to read from Dottie’s “On old ideas.”

Here are the first nine lines:

Kissing the bankteller outside his stairs

In Brighton, MA I cannot lie, I felt the hope

That we once felt, if only for an instant

O the lovely bankteller, like a moose he

Rode my spirit quite outside my clothes

And chrysanthemums sprouted I assure you

Out my nipples when he kissed them. 

And the pureness of not knowing him at all
Was really what we all feel when we enter this earth.

The dancers repeated the same series of tight little movements as Kathryn read, only this time I could see that they were following the cadence of Kathryn’s speech. They moved as if they were the words she was speaking—like little vessels of physical energy leaping from her vocal chords. It made the act of reading aloud seem like a piece of choreography, as if every word or sentence or exclamation you could speak had always had an action behind it that you just couldn’t see until now. The secret is out, I think.

Hear some of Dottie’s poems at Penn Sound.

Then, buy some tickets to IN FLUX.