Posted: 1:26 p.m. Saturday, April 08, 2017
Minneapolis-based choreographer Stuart Pimsler has been creating unique dance-theater works for nearly 40 years, and it shows. In an age when many movement-based artists are struggling for relevance and authenticity, he presents masterfully crafted works of the most personal and humane kind.
His company, Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater, presented three such works Friday at the Kravis Center’s Rinker Playhouse.
Tales from the Book of Longing, At It Again and Bohemian Grove made for a divinely curious evening.
The Book of Longing, which premiered in 2009, is a rich essay on, well, longing. The piece begins with a dancer singing on a perch high above the audience in the theater’s catwalk. The dance develops into duets and ensemble vignettes of sometimes witty, sometimes wrenching, details all centered around wanting love, but never actually quite touching it.
When we do finally see love achieved, it is in the form of a beautifully tender and supportive male duet, accompanied by the same singer singing plaintively on the stage at the dancers’ feet. This work asks the tender questions about why we want what it is that we want.
At It Again is a tour de force dance monologue in which Pimsler himself dances and reads aloud a personal letter written to author Phillip Roth. While not intended to be knee-slappingly funny, Pimsler’s physical and vocal delivery takes the work to a special place of high political and cultural commentary mixed with a generous side of belly-laughs. Deftly executed and intellectually spot-on, this solo practically sums up and defines an entire sub-genre of post-modern dance in 10 minutes.
Bohemian Grove derives its title and premise from a campground in Northern California used by the uber-rich and famous. Never one to shy away from the political, Pimsler lets the 1 percent have it with both barrels.
The primary narrator is co-artistic director Suzanne Costello, who slithers through the piece with delightfully reptilian splendor. The rather cryptic and morose stories deal with the upper class’s desire and delight in keeping all others in their place by any means necessary.
This visually stunning and emotional dance was performed by Costello, Brian Evans, Katherine Griffis, Jesse Neumann-Peterson and Scott Stafford. Each of the performers was rich and mature in their roles, bringing even more depth to an evening of masterful work.
Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater goes on stage at 7:30 tonight in the Kravis Center’s Rinker Playhouse.