Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
On Friday evening, Susan Marshall & Company performed two dance works, “Sleeping Beauty” and “Other Stories,” in the Pearson-Hall Theatre in LPAC.
The first piece, set amidst hanging panels of tinted, warehouse windows, featured Marshall as the protagonist of a schizophrenic dream in which she was interacted with dancers who were at once friends, teachers, lovers, subjects, and enemies. She was thrown about violently, embraced, and sometimes bowed down to. The choreography was a fusion of free interpretation and traditional ballet, set to pounding, sharp electronic music that intensified the nightmarish quality of the scene. At other times, however, the choreography was set to a minimalist and lulling work for piano, which eventually ended the work. The music was composed from works by Annie Gosfield and David Lang, the choreography by Marshall, with the Company’s collaboration.
After a brief intermission the troupe performed “Other Stories,” which featured a leader who directed his minions through a headset to dissect other dancers on an examination table. He keenly and ruthlessly controlled his power, as other dancers vied for his throne, a green retro chair. Eventually overthrown, every subsequent leader was overthrown as well, until the piece ended in confusion. The frantic choreography, in which dancers moved at a fast, robotic pace, was composed to jarring techno arranged by Jane Shaw.
Sleeping Beauty and Other Stores was commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music and has been made possible by the Doris Duke Fund for Dance of the National Dance Project. Susan Marshall & Company will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this fall. Troupe members have toured with Les Enfants Terribles, a dance/opera choreographed and directed by Marshall in collaboration with composer Philip Glass. Marshall herself has created more than twenty-seven dance works in collaboration with her Company, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. This weekend’s performance was sponsored by the Department of Music and Dance and the William J. Cooper Foundation.