The dances that linger to become memories

BY BRIAN MCCORMICK | GRAND DAME Trisha Brown''s sentimental, post-modern dance. Whether intentional or not, many of the dances presented over the last twelve months have evoked the events of September 11. Perhaps this has less to do with the specifics of the event itself, and more to do with the universality of death and the stages in which we deal with it and its aftermath. Perhaps for those of us who witnessed, survived, and remember… the significance of those themes has become charged. A reference to 9/11 is still so immediate that it produces an instant connection with the audience. The eleven dances cited below did not necessarily use September 11 as source material or “inspiration”, nor did they make any attempt to bring the event or the war on terror into the dance arena. If anything, there has been a dearth of political discourse in our field in response to our country’s unilateral, prejudicial cry for war. Nevertheless, themes of human frailty, vulnerability, community, generations, rituals, youth, relationships, place, and cultural history, all explored in great dances this past calendar year seemed to speak to the things that have come under attack since our present era of American life began. Clare Byrne’s Wet Blue & Friends

Dixon Place

Out of the era of the depression came The Tramp. Out of the era of late capitalism Wet Blue emerges, in time to represent the newly dashed dreams of America and the search for meaning in a debauched society. Ben Munisteri Dance Projects

Muse of Fire Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater at Symphony Space

One of the most personal affairs of the season, this stand-up confessional routine with power-packed dancing interludes was truly original. Intimate, funny, well written, and smashingly performed. Monica Bill Barnes

When we were pretty Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church

This delightful work celebrates the broad range of what it is to be feminine, and takes a look at what changes and what remains over the generations. Doug Varone

The Bottomland The Ohio Theater

Varone paints a picture of life in the heartland, then tears away the paint to expose the rotten wood underneath. A dramatization of the soul-searching America needs to do. Yaniro Castro + Company Cartography

The Old American Can Factory

A journey through a relationship mapped onto a grand old abandoned industrial complex. Voyeurism from a distance and as close as you can get without touching. A designer’s dream. Xavier Le Roy’s

Gizselle The Kitchen

A living time capsule of popular dance expression set to the music in your head. Stephen Petronio

Broken Man The Joyce Theater

One of the most direct references to 9/11, this haunting, touching solo portrait brought the choreographer back to the stage after recovering from a broken foot. Edgar Zendejas

Sonata de Luna Part of the In the Company of Men program at Theater of The Riverside Church

A beautiful expression of love between two men; the kinds of heroes gay men need to see more of. Ballet Preljocaj

Rite of Spring Brooklyn Academy of Music

A reminder that human nature can be expressed equally in manner both calm and beautiful, raw and ugly. Noemie Lafrance

Descent City Court Building

A breathtakingly beautiful, heavenly, and vertiginous delight; a living kaleidoscopic installation with a movable audio chandelier. Looking down, looking up, looking into a reimagined proscenium. Trisha Brown

Geometry of Quiet John Jay College

The day after Einstein on The Beach. An unexpected, inexplicably sentimental work from the grand dame of postmodern dance.