Dances of protest

Dances of protest

Is there a role for art in troubled times beyond escape or catharsis? These choreographers thought so; their dances were their voices raised in social protest. They hold up mirrors and make a howl.

* The Green Table, Kurt Jooss (1932). Anti-war piece inspired by World War l but based on the medieval Dance of Death. In repertoire of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago; performances by the Milwaukee Ballet in February 2004.

* Lysistrata, Antony Tudor (1932). Based on the classic Greek play by Aristophanes where Athenian women withhold sex from men until war is stopped. Echoing of Trumpets (1963), village women are degraded by an occupying army.

* Anti-War Trilogy, Anna Sokolow (1933). Inquisition (1936), Excerpts Fram a War Poem (1937), and Slaughter of the Innocents (1934).

* Romance, Ted Shawn (1943). A girl is left behind in wartime. July 2000 at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival by Genivieve Pellman with Sharry Underwood’s DANSARTE, INC.

* War Lyrics, Jose Limon (1940), and Comedy (1968), a version of Lysistrata.

* The Clowns, Gerald Arpino (1968). Possible nuclear holocaust.

* The Peloponnesian War, Daniel Nagrin (1968). Vietnam War.

* Collaboration With Wintersoldier, Steve Paxton (1971). The bombing of Cambodia.

* The Triumph of Death, Flemming Flindt (1971 -72). Made for television, then restaged for the Royal Danish Ballet. End-of-the-world imagery. Notorious nude finale.

* Gloria, Kenneth MacMillan (1980). World War I.

* Soldiers’ Mass, Jiri Kylian (1980), World War II; Arcimbaldo (1995), NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. Nederlands Danse Theater I, II, III

* Docudance: Nine Short Dances About the Defense Budget and Other Military Matters, Liz Lerman (1983).

* Odyssey, John Neumeier (1995). Homeric legend, draws a parallel with the Vietnam War. Performed by the Royal Danish Ballet in its 2002-2003 season.

* In the Beginning … 1970, Gus Giordano (1996). Massacre of Kent State students. In rep of Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago.

* Back Home, Dietmar Seyffert (1996), for San Francisco Ballet.

* Oh Beautiful, Deborah Hay (2002). Inverted States, Joanna Haigood (2002). Misdirected leadership in the name of patriotism.

* Daughter of a Pacifist Soldier, Tamar Rogoff (2002). Post-traumatic stress.

* Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Xenophobia!, James Beaudry, MFA candidate at Mills College (2003). Disney-fication of war.

* Dancing for Peace, Jenna Veatch, Barnard College student (2003). In four stops of the New York subway.

Former American Ballet Theatre dancer Joseph Carman is a contributor to DANCE MAGAZINE, The New York Times, and The Advocate.

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