Orts Tackles The Trappings Of The Middle Ages With The
'Dance Of The Inclusae.'
By Margaret Regan
AT AN O-T-O Dance rehearsal last
week, three dancers dressed like nuns in dark blue robes hung lifelessly
from three separate trapezes.
Annie Bunker, the Orts artistic director and one of the dancers, let
out a pathetic scream. Then she and the others jerked to life and flailed
helplessly and hopelessly over the bars, enacting a desperate effort to
free themselves. A fourth dancer, dressed as a priest, watched their
struggles with sympathy. The haunting dance they were practicing, "Dance
of the Inclusae and the Holy Mother," will be a centerpiece of the
company's annual fall concert at the PCC Center for the Arts this weekend.
Choreographed by Robert Davidson of Seattle, a frequent Orts
collaborator whom Bunker likes to call a "trapeze god," the work is based
on a bizarre religious practice of the late Middle Ages. Bunker said that
women, called "inclusae," were confined to tiny cells, either voluntarily
or involuntarily on the orders of a husband or father. Left alone to
founder in their own waste, they were supposed to somehow achieve closer
union with God.
The piece, set to an original score by Chuck Koesters, marks an
innovation in the company's long-term use of trapezes. Usually, the
swinging bars inspire great soaring leaps into space and airy metaphors
about life and change and infinity. This time, "the trapezes are like our
cells, or cages," Bunker said. The work is a fragment of "Meister
Eckhart," an evening-long dance by Davidson about a 14th- century mystical
German theologian, which Orts expects to stage in its entirety a year from
No doubt about it, the "Inclusae" piece is dark and intense, but this
weekend's concert, Twelve Years and Soaring, will hardly be
monotone. Two works are premieres. "Windways," a collaboration between
choreographer Bunker and composer R. Carlos Nakai, was performed as a work
in progress last spring. It's a joyful trapeze piece based on the rhythms
of nature. Nakai himself will play live at the Saturday evening concert.
" 'Windways' has been a really nice project," Bunker said. "It's our
fourth major collaboration (with Nakai)."
The other premiere in the concert, "My Better Half," is a jazzy, dancey
work for seven, choreographed by company dancer Beth Bauman, and performed
to the music of Bobby McFerrin.
Mary Putterman will dance her solo work, "Mingus," a celebration of the
'50s beats, set to a piece by Charles Mingus. Like "Inclusae," it's not a
new work, but both are new for Tucsonans. The company will give two 1994
works by Bunker reprise performances. "Widows," co-choreographed by
Putterman, danced to the music of Prokofiev, is a comic work for four
dancers; and "Mercurial Origins" is a duet to music composed for the work
by Steve Roach.
Orts represents just one of the dance options this weekend. Another
local troupe, Zenith Dance Collective, presents one show only of
Dialogues, by its Body Prints Theatre. More rarely seen than Orts,
Zenith will do a performance of dance and music improvisation, curated by
Eva Tessler. Five dancers, including Greg Colburn and Jon McNamara, and
three musicians will perform.
Southwest Dance also brings in two big, splashy traveling shows by the
Queensland Ballet of Australia, touring in the U.S. for the first time.
Thursday night, Queensland will do a ballet version of Pirates of
Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan. Friday, the company will return with
a ballet interpretation of Shakespeare's
Midsummer Night's Dream and the Arabian Nights tale of
O-T-O Dance presents Twelve Years and Soaring
at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the PCC Center for the Arts Proscenium
Theatre, 2202 W. Anklam Road. Tickets are $8 in advance at Bentley's and
Silverbell Trading. Tickets at the door are $10. Children 15 and under,
accompanied by an adult, get in free. Call 624-3799 for
reservations. Get a $2 discount by reserving through e-mail Zenith Dance Collective presents
Dialogues at 8 p.m. Thursday, October 17, in the Cabaret
Theatre of the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Tickets are $6,
available at the door only. The Queensland Ballet of Australia
performs at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, October 17 and 18, at the TCC
Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. Tickets are $16, $20 and $24, with a $3
discount for seniors and half-price tickets for students and children.
Call 791-4266 for reservations and information.
Back to Top