I remember seeing the Hope diamond many years ago in a glass case at the NY Museum of Natural History . It sparkled brilliantly and commanded all of my attention. It’s intensity made me gasp.
This afternoon I had the privilege of seeing a performance at the Joyce Theater of Doug Elkins’ Mo(or)town Redux. I hadn’t seen the work since soon after it had been created during Doug’s DANCEworks residency in 2011.
The word “jewel.” came to my mind at the curtain call. Mo(or)town is now a highly polished gem! Doug has seamlessly told Shakespeare’s Othello story using only four dancers, a handkerchief, classic Motown music, and an intricate and fascinating dance vocabulary that conveys at least as much in movement as the written word. No one but Doug could have done it. I was told by the participants that it could only have been created at DANCEworks because of the time and support they were given during their residency. Happy and most fortunate opportunities for everyone.
photo courtesy David Bazemore
The dancers practically fly through the fast paced production with each fully inhabiting their critical and distinct roles. The ensemble work dazzles. The duets range from loving to fierce, but are always compelling. The Motown lyrics uncannily move the story steadily forward. The telling nevers falters or fails to hit its mark, be it joyous or tragic, the dancing is enthralling. What a ride!
As I applauded at the curtain call, my eyes filled with tears. I felt SO proud of what everyone had accomplished with this dance. The dancers, the choreographer, the dramaturg, the musicologist, and of course our DANCEworks residency.
I found myself saying to Doug, “If this were the only work to come out of our DANCEworks residency, we would have done our job.” It’s just THAT good.