The TeenTix Press Corps hosted a pop-up Dance Criticism workshop at Grupo Corpo’s performance at Meany Center, February 22, 2020. Taught by dance artist, writer, and teacher, Kaitlin McCarthy, the workshop covered the basics of dance criticism and how to approach writing a dance review. After a pre-show lesson, teen participants attended Grupo Corpo’s performance, and then met the next day for discussion and writing practice. Below are the reflections of the performance the participants wrote during the workshop.
Written by Hana - 8th grade
Grupo Corpo presents a suspenseful, anticipation-drawing work: Bach. The show began with a pitch black stage, 16 dancers enter, 14 leave. The two remaining dancers begin a passionate, in-sync pattern of twirls and leaps. Their duet evoked awe and started the show off with an exciting moment. The dancers twisted and turned together, as if looking into a mirror. This moment provided an exciting start to the show and allowed the audience to see a relationship between two dancers portrayed onstage. The way the dancers followed each other, separated, and came back together, illustrated a passionate, intense relationship. The dancers’ intense relationship made the audience hang on to every last moment, delivering focus and suspense to the viewers.
Written by Damon - 7th grade
I thought it was cool when the woman slowly fell as they were being held by the men. It was kind of a melancholy moment and it ramped up after when the couples spun around in circles. With the slow sad music, it almost seemed depressing and intense in the moment, but the mood was not followed up on in the next scene. I was impressed at the performer’s flexibility and strength. I thought about mostly sad things like when you fall seemingly forever in a dream. This scene was so abstract that I couldn’t picture what it was supposed to represent.
Written by Sofia - 10th grade
In the Grupo Corpo piece Bach (1996), there are many moments of contrast and division. One example lies in the structure of the choreography. The piece is broken up into alternating, ABAB-style sections - an energetic, jumpy, free flow section followed by a slower, more sustained one. The more high-energy sections have an extremely vibrant, happy mood, whereas the slower ones feel more somber and almost foreboding. By having these sections back to back, the audience can get a clear sense of contrast and division from the work. The contrast presented in the piece can be related to that between the classical rigid baroque of Europe and the freer, more celebratory baroque of the state of Minas Gerais. In my mind, I relate the slower, more structured baroque to the European version because of my own experiences viewing and performing European baroque. What stood out to me in European baroque and in Bach was the rigidness and conformity that was expected of the dancers. This created a clear connection for me when I was watching the piece, especially when contrasted with the more energetic section. I think that Pedernerias’s method of communicating the contrasting versions of baroque was mildly successful. When viewing the piece, I could clearly see a division between sections, but I think there was still room for personal interpretation, as opposed to a more obvious one. The audience can relate their own experiences with baroque to the examples presented in the piece and make their own assumptions.
Grupo Corpo's performance ran at Meany Center for the Performing Arts on February 20 - 22, 2020. For event information see here.