The Royal Opera, Hofesh Schechter, Orphée et Eurydice

Posted: September 24th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Performance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Royal Opera, Hofesh Schechter, Orphée et Eurydice

Orphée et Eurydice, The Royal Opera, Royal Opera House, September 17

Dancers from Hofesh Schechter Company as Furies in Orphée et Eurydice (photo: Tristram Kenton)

Dancers from Hofesh Schechter Company as Furies in Orphée et Eurydice (photo: Tristram Kenton)

Hofesh Shechter’s directorial role in the Royal Opera’s production of Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice is part of a month-long season of Schechter works under the modest moniker Hofest. The titles of choreographic works on the Hofest bill — Degeneration, Political Mother and Barbarians — seem worlds away from Orphée et Eurydice; what links them is Schechter’s ability to summon up tortured, angst-ridden furies, who in Gluck’s opera inhabit the second act underworld. But this leaves two acts in which his dancers are called on, along with the Monteverdi Choir, to be shepherds and nymphs lamenting with Orphée over the death of his wife, Eurydice, or celebrating the victory of love over death in Act 3. Neither pastoral lamentation nor joyous celebration are particularly Schechtian subjects. In the opening of Act 1 his dancers are on their best behaviour, however, sharing simple gestures of grief with the choir in harmony with Orphée’s first aria. There is a magical moment where the fluid bowing of the violinists above merges with the fluid gestures of the mourners below. As the first act develops, however, the dancers default to the familiar Schechtian mode of movement — Shechter has imported his own company and members of his junior company to fulfill his choreographic role — that distances them from the chorus to the point of creating two distinct artistic entities. From here the dance and the opera part ways; in the dance of the blessed spirits there is a sense of calm but the earthiness of the steps drags down the ethereal charm of the music, and when Eurydice appears in Elysium, her ‘cheerful home’, the dancers manage at best to look sullenly depressed with their heads down and shoulders hunched over. This unsettling imbalance is lost on the two directors of the opera, one of whom is the Associate Director of the The Royal Opera, John Fulljames and the other is Schechter himself.

He has not only imported his dancers but also his lighting designer, Lee Curran. After the pencil spot on Juan Diego Flórez as Orphée flashes three times in the dark like an errant cue after the curtain rises, the first impression of the set in full light is visually stunning; the orchestra floats above the middle of the stage as if on the private deck on a sumptuous liner and the three trombonists stand on a separate, spacious plane above them. Below the orchestra, among the columns of the hydraulic stage, wander the chorus and dancers. Curran is at his best in creating a dramatic sweep of light in productions in which movement is central. He gives this production a feel of calm suspension, but it is in his treatment of individual singers that he falters. Amanda Forsythe as Amour looking like a cabaret singer in a golden suit too often merges into the soft golden tones of the orchestra around her and the lone figure of Flórez on the forestage in Act 3 sings in shadow (he may simply have wandered too far forward on the extended apron) while the vast, empty upper planes of the stage above the orchestra are bathed in light. It is an odd inversion of focus that detracts from Flórez’ superb singing.

Conor Murphy’s stage concept promises much on first view but is shot through with inconsistencies. It also places the production’s design at the service of the dance over the central role of the orchestra. Not only is the conductor placed in the middle of the stage where he cannot see his soloists or chorus for most of the time (nor they him), but any sense of cosmological order — where the floating orchestra might indicate the upper world and the sunken orchestra the underworld — is subverted for logistical reasons. When Orphée arrives in the underworld to meet Eurydice the orchestra is appropriately below the level of the stage, but it has to rise to let Orphée cross through the musicians from the back to the front of the stage to sing. At the end of Act 2 the orchestra is still level with the stage, but at the beginning of Act 3, which follows on scenically where Act 2 finishes, the orchestra has been buried in a bunker. What happened in the intermission?

There is no record in the program as to what John Eliot Gardiner thinks of his placement on the stage or of the merciless rising and lowering of his orchestra in this production. Fulljames insists he and Schechter ‘have understood John Eliot’s thoughts about the structure of the music and borne those in mind as the production has evolved.’ This eloquently suggests the production was designed with the orchestra, the chorus and their conductor but not necessarily to their advantage.

The inconsistencies of the production values, however, are nothing compared to the effect of Schechter’s choreography in the extended dancing scenes of Act 3. The divide between opera and dance is at its nadir; all hell lets loose as if the furies have been set free as well. In its overwrought self-indulgence the celebratory atmosphere is pulled down to the stamping, grunting level of the underworld from which not even the elegant forces of Gluck’s music can pull it back. I left the auditorium with a sinking feeling that all the efforts of Orphée and his victory of love and music over death had been in vain.

The Associates, Sadler’s Wells

Posted: February 11th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Performance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Associates, Sadler’s Wells

The Associates, Sadler’s Wells, February 6

The Associates themselves (l to r): Kate Prince (photo: Simon Prince), Hofesh Schechter (photo: Jake Walters) and Crystal Pite (photo: Michael Slobodian)

The Associates themselves (l to r): Kate Prince (photo: Simon Prince), Hofesh Schechter (photo: Jake Walters) and Crystal Pite (photo: Michael Slobodian)

Over the last ten years Sadler’s Wells has developed a roster of 16 Associate Artists reflecting the different genres of dance it produces. Artistic Director Alistair Spalding is not in the habit of putting together a program of Associates’ work but this particular one came about through the almost simultaneous request from two of them, Hofesh Schechter and Kate Prince, to test run their works in front of their home audience. Seeing an opportunity, Spalding called on the most recent Associate, Crystal Pite, to complete the program.

I am not familiar with Kate Prince’s choreography but here she directs Smile, a solo choreographed (with a little help from Shaun Smith) and performed by Tommy Franzén. He starts out as Charlie Chaplin’s famous tramp in a delightful riff on those familiar gestures but very quickly loses his way amongst the storage room full of props. It is only in the final scene nine tracks later that he wipes off his white face and black mustache, but he could have done it much earlier. If Chaplin’s tramp is the peg on which Smile hangs it is soon overwhelmed by all the imagery Prince/Franzén/Smith heap on it. There is clearly an attempt to contrast the comedic with the tragic without realizing (as Chaplin did) that both reside within the same gestures and postures. Prince separates the two with the result that Franzén can never gain the stature of the tragic because he is too busy trying to be funny.

There is only a pause between Smile and Crystal Pite’s A Picture of You Falling (2008) but the contrast is marked. Pite’s writing of dance has the clarity of a Joni Mitchell song or of a photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson: the focus is unmistakable and immediate. The writing is intelligent and meaning is built up with each creative element, from choreography to setting to costumes to light and sound. Linda Chow, who created the carapace-like costumes for Polaris in the Thomas Adès program, is here in more casual mode but dresses the dancers in layers they then discard as the story is revealed. In the hands of Robert Sondergaard light becomes a metaphor for space and time, and can speak as demonstratively as a dancer’s gesture, as it does at the opening when a roving light seems to embody the voice of Kate Strong recalling aspects of a relationship. Peter Chu and Anne Plamondon are the couple whose history is Pite’s subject and although it is broken up like snapshots shuffled from an album the emotional core is beautifully expressed through movement. “I am fascinated and convinced by the shared narratives that live in our bodies,” writes Pite, “the familiar, repetitive storylines that move across cultures and generations — and the body’s role as illustrator.” It is Pite’s ability to mine this illustrative potential of the body with such finesse that sets her apart as a remarkable choreographer.

Hofesh Schechter has a new commission for the Royal Ballet at the end of March and I wonder if he is either testing out some ideas here or if he is getting this piece out of his creative system to make way for the new. The barbarians in love is more delicate than his previous work, perhaps influenced by his embrace of François Couperin’s music, and comes across as a meditation on the past without setting out in any new direction. Lee Curran’s lighting through levels of mist and the white tops and dark jeans devised by Merle Hensel enhance a sense of searching for purity or redemption. The final section in which the six fine dancers emerge from the darkness naked or semi naked strikes me as an intensely personal statement; the dancers remain in the half shadow facing us self-consciously, using their arms in eerily simple gestures redolent of departure without wanting to go. The barbarians in love — the title itself is infused with ambiguity — is a strung together on a series of ethical imperatives or lessons intoned with intimate sensuality by Natascha McElhone that culminate in a recorded dialogue between her in the role of a teasing God and a skewered Schechter trying to justify his work. It borders quite heavily on the self-indulgent but there are mitigating factors. Whether the barbarians in love signals a turning point in Schechter’s creative output will not be known until the end of March with his new commission at the Royal Opera House.


KnowBody, Elixir Festival 2014

Posted: September 22nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Performance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on KnowBody, Elixir Festival 2014

KnowBody, Elixir Festival, Sadler’s Wells, September 12

Mats Ek and Ana Laguna in Memory (photo: Stephanie Berger)

Mats Ek and Ana Laguna in Memory (photo: Stephanie Berger)

The image on the front of the program (above) is of Mats Ek and his wife Ana Laguna in a duet called Memory. It is a fitting image, not only because Ek and Laguna in that fleeting moment express all the joy and sensuality of their lived experience, but almost the entire evening — the opening salvo of Sadler’s Wells Elixir Festival — is about memory, the kind of memory that dancers call body, or muscle memory. Dancers don’t simply learn steps like facts to repeat them on stage; they embody them on both a physical and emotional level through the mechanism of repetition and the stimulus is often, but not always, music. The body and mind of a dancer thus constitute a treasury of memories that can, as the Elixir Festival proved convincingly, offer up their remarkable wealth or even be coaxed out of a state of voluntary hibernation.

Matteo Fargion and Jonathan Burrows do just that in The Elders Project, weaving remembered movement phrases of a select group of retired dancers into a droll, intelligent, touching collage of their dancing lives. Kenneth Tharp, Geraldine Morris, Linda Gibbs, Brian Bertscher, Anne Donnelly, Christopher Bannerman, Lizie Saunderson, Betsy Gregory and Namron provide a unique glimpse into what once was, but more interestingly, what still is and could be again. There is a palpable emotional response from the audience who are either reliving past memories or are simply drawn into the delightful euphoria of the work, or both.

Mats Ek is one of the early champions of mining the expressive quality of mature dancers, and with his extensive experience in theatre and dance he has developed a mastery for choreographing theatre. His first duet with Laguna, Potato, is a reminder that a simple idea — sharing a bag of potatoes — can be heightened into something universal by the corresponding depth of experience of the dancers performing it. Ek’s work is not overly concerned with technique, but more with ‘a lyrical approach which conveys through movement the underlying emotions and feelings rather than just the narrative detail.’ His pared-down and often idiosyncratic vocabulary draws in the spectator through its unpretentious, ludic sense of reality.

To watch Dominique Mercy in the solo, That Paper Boy, created on him by Pascal Merighi is to be transported to a state of physical and emotional weightlessness, nowhere more so than in the section he dances to the Reckoning Song by Asaf Avidan (‘one day baby we’ll be old, think about all the stories that we could have told…’). With fourty years of performing with Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, he can elicit the same kind of attention whether he stands still (as he does at the beginning), dances, recites an existential text on silence and death, or scans himself with a neon light. As with Ek and Laguna, his every stance or gesture, however small or transitory, is filled with both genial abandon and infallible conviction; his physical and emotional intelligence leaves no room for half measures.

In an evening that celebrates the value of maturity, Hofesh Shechter chooses to restage part of an existing work, In Your Rooms, by replacing younger dancers with older ones (Sadler’s Wells own Company of Elders). According to the program notes, this is an adaptation ‘to suit the bodies and life stories of this older group of dancers’ but in the overpowering music and claustrophobic choreography there is more a sense of oppression than setting free. Perhaps that is what Shechter wants, but it sets his choreographic vision above the potential of his dancers.

Jane Hackett, the creative producer and guiding spirit behind the Elixir Festival, invited the Chilean company, Generación del Ayer, to perform at the Elixir Festival after seeing them in their hometown of Santiago. Unique on this evening’s roster, this is an artist’s collective founded in 1996 specifically to allow professional dancers to continue their artistic life cycle beyond what is culturally accepted. Lo Que Me Dio El Agua (what the water tells me) is choreographed by Sonia Uribe as a tribute to the life and work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and is inspired by her painting Las dos Fridas (The Two Fridas). Both Uribe and Carmen Aros perform with a passion and pride commensurate with their inspiration, but the ritual stylization of the work sets it apart from the predominantly European aesthetic in which it is presented.

The evening finishes with another duet, Memory, from Ek and Laguna that reminds us yet again of the huge gap that exists in current dance repertoire where youthful athleticism trumps the art of age. Ek and Laguna dispel this myth with a poignant refusal to take leave, a gentle kicking against the dying of the light that is candid, playful and yes, timeless.

Hofesh Schechter dancers: In Good Company

Posted: July 5th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Performance | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Hofesh Schechter dancers: In Good Company

In Good Company: New works by the dancers of Hofesh Schechter Company. The Place, June 23 at 8pm.

Last of his Act: Yeji Kim

In the dim opening light we see just Yeji Kim’s back, at the same level as the lamp, higher than we expect. As the light enlarges, we notice she is clutched to Sita Ostheimer’s torso, her arms tight around Ostheimer’s neck. We hear an electronically manipulated voice emitting globs of sound so guttural as to be close to choking or vomiting. It is the first of many disturbing juxtapositions in Kim’s Last of His Act that seem to derive from a divorce of experience and wisdom as articulated in her program notes: ‘We, women, can express our mind differently from what we really have in mind.’ This separation is expressed in a series of contrasted episodes. After a brief blackout we see the two women lying centre stage, the strong sensuous curve of Ostheimer’s hip highlighted in front of Kim’s concealed form. They embrace and mould themselves to each other along the musical line of a distorted cello migrating to synthesizer: Apocalyptica to early Pink Floyd. Joel Harries’ sound comes in thick layers, wrapping the movement in an almost suffocating embrace from which Kim and Ostheimer emerge as light to the sound’s shade or as waves to the sound’s depths; it is the sound that seems to release them or hold them in place. A powerful bass pulse shakes them free of each other and we see a dance of two frenetic, isolated individuals, their hands wide open like a Rodin sculpture. The guttural globs resume as the two women return to the front of the stage, breathless from exertion. Lit from the floor, they look out at us in the silence, prompting applause, but the women stand their ground until an ominous knock at a massive door focuses our attention once again. We hear the door creaking open on to a section of more antagonistic images and sounds: Kim gently raises the hem of her dress, peering at her sex, to applause or perhaps it is heavy rain, then portentous booted steps. Ostheimer performs the same ritual examination, placing her hands over her womb to the sound of a dog barking and snarling: fragility over violence, courage over intimidation, life over death. We hear fragments of a song in which the words ‘pain’ and ‘strain’ are distinct in the increasing cacophony that drives Kim and Ostheimer to a frenzied state. Never quite out of control – they are both consummate dancers – they manage to draw their movements closer to the body, held in tight like a seething anger. Exhausted, Ostheimer lies down in submission; Kim remains standing close to her in the dying light, but gravity and the dwindling sound undermine her will and release her finally to the floor.  ‘Sometimes’, writes Kim, ‘the free will of women can give us distance through cynicism. Conversely, this will can make us feel empathy for others’ lives, mistakenly. We question ourselves if we know them or not’.

Lukewarm and loving it: Philip Hulford

A lampstand upstage left glows faintly, barely revealing Hannah Shepherd standing next to it. A translation from Matthew 6.22-23 is projected on the backdrop: Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder, your body will fill up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and dishonesty your body is a dank cellar. There is for me an uncomfortable distinction here between advertising an idea for a performance and evangelising. The title of the work is the subject of a sermon by Francis Chan, an American Christian pastor, equating lukewarm with lack of faith, and in his program acknowledgements, Hulford cites the example and teaching of Jesus. Because there is so much ‘message’ before the dance begins, one wonders what role the dance has. Perhaps Hulford should have considered the first verse of Matthew 6, in the same translation, that contains the admonition: Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.

This is a rather long digression on a personal issue, but as Hulford has made it a primary element in his work, it asks to be addressed. The choreography juxtaposes the appropriately named and dreamy Shepherd, dressed blandly in jeans, a jacket and sneekers, against the dynamic duo of Frederic Despierre and Karima El Amrani, who quickly launch into a disco number fragmented by a strobe light, pushing their limits and swaying violently from side to side to a throbbing, high-decibel beat. Are they the squinty-eyed ones against Shepherd’s wide eyes, or are they the heat to Shepherd’s lukewarm? I tend towards the former interpretation, as Shepherd seems to develop confidence and conviction in the course of the work, culminating in a dynamic and assured solo to lyrics by Jars of Clay: The smile on the outside that never comes in…You break me open, turn on the light…Let the show begin. But if Shepherd develops, there is no corresponding growth for Despierre and El Amrani, which leaves the work rather one-sided and incomplete. Hence the ambiguity.

Like Hofesh Schechter, Hulford is a musician and has composed the score in collaboration with Joe Ashwin of the progressive death metal band, Stone Circle (Ashwin also plays guitar in the Hofesh Schechter band). What sounds like the electronically manipulated buzzing of a bee breaks the opening silence followed incongruously by a stubborn starter motor. A pounding, reverberating pulse underlies the first duet with Despierre and El Amrani, and Shepherd is given a quieter, more pensive treatment, though the general tone of this layered sound leaves little room for subtle expression.

No way but down: Sam Coren

A thunderous rumbling introduces the soundscape by Alberto Ruiz. We see a painting hanging in an artist’s studio, a view of sky and clouds. Perhaps it is the one source of light on this rather seedy, unhealthy interior, designed with particular attention by Kasper Hansen. We see a bicycle on a stand and then the figure of Igor Urzelai get up from bed still covered in bed clothes. He offloads them in a heap. By the look of his costume (Sophie Bellin Hansen must have had fun putting this together – and got it just right) we are not expecting a virtuoso dance. In fact there is no dance at all, unless the furious pedaling can be considered a pure form. No matter. Urzelai pedals to generate electricity to light the room, an introduction to the refreshing but dark sense of humour that pervades No way but down. Urzelai is part pirate, part vagabond. He sorts his collection of cassettes and selects rather prophetically The Handsome Family’s The Lost Soul. What an awful day, when the judgement comes. And sinners hear their eternal doom but the volume is too high for such a crappy machine (perhaps the only instance in the work where production values are divorced from the ‘reality’ of the stage). He sings along, using a bicycle pump as microphone, then breaks off to lay his makeshift table with a plastic sheet, and a large spoon. He selects a can of beans from the collection stacked against the back wall and on his way back to the table changes the ambience by putting on a recorded sound of a restaurant buzzing with activity: clinking plates, teaspoons and conversation. Tucking a newspaper under his chin as a bib, he opens the can and savours the contents. One might be forgiven for thinking of the last supper without the disciples. The spoon then takes on a life of its own: food sprays up, Urzelai’s anger erupts and he throws the can’s contents in his face. To calm down he searches for another recording: a reading (by Ben Coren, read by Jason Jacobs). Chapter two. Companionship. When you are feeling frustrated or irritable with your partner, just remember you are lucky to have each other…Inspired, he puts a waste bin inside the hood of a jacket to shape a partner and performs a grim thé dansant. More music maestro, please; but he has to pedal first to generate more electricity. He plays Graham Lindsey’s Deathtrip Blues. And soon I will be dead…another self-fulfilling choice. Urzelai shines a torch at his partner’s face, then places the light on the table and sits down for a tête à tête. Smoke suddenly appears from under the door on stage left. Urzelai lies his partner on the floor and rushes over to fan the smoke away, peeling off his outer garments (there are many) to stuff under the door. He returns to his act of creation by stuffing another waste bin in another hooded jacket (there’s a pile at the back) and introduces this second figure to the first, laying them side by side on the floor. He pauses, then thoughtfully places the sleeve of one over the torso of the other. Pleased with his work, he removes the clothing from under the door and sits inhaling the bellowing smoke: hope and the light are snuffed out together, leaving that patch of painted sky and clouds above his make-believe lovers.

I don’t know if Sam Coren has direct experience of this condition, but he has created a portrait of despair with a masterly dose of sympathy and understanding unadorned by morality. It is a movingly nuanced portrait by Urzelai, too, who is utterly convincing.

The Age: James Finnemore

A couple stands on stage in the dark. We hear a repeated phrase of three words, like dark age heart, on a score by Joel Harries, followed by a deep pulsing bass track – a common musical feature in the scores this evening. The couple is still, their faces indistinct, with their legs illuminated by a bank of lights on the floor behind them, until the overheads come up and we see their intent look. Victoria Hoyland steps back and Philip Hulford reverentially takes her hand, kneels, lets her sit on his knee, then gently takes her weight as he stands. They dance a ballroom waltz, in very small and faltering steps before disengaging, taking hands and looking out again into the audience as if posing for a photograph. Hoyland takes another position on all fours, and Hulford sits on her back. They repeat their movement sequences but more rapidly. She is now like a wind-up doll in waltz position, with arms in place for an absent partner, turning half turns continuously while Hulford walks to the centre and looks out intently once again. While Hoyland turns, Hulford dances powerfully and mysteriously in the blue light, quick and dynamic, almost manic – one of the most searing images of the evening. The music develops into a heartbeat and finishes. Hulford regains his breath and tries to express something, but he cannot speak. He is on the point of walking away from us but turns to face us in silence. Hoyland and Hulford seem unsure they should be here, as does the audience, who applauds, but it is not the end. Hulford is evidently in discomfort as he begins a dance of shell-shocked fatigue. A blackout and a new pulsing bass line plumb the depths of his being and he begins to jump in place, passing through another blackout to appear standing next to Hoyland with his hands behind his back, she with hands in front. They both walk over to the bank of floor lights that has started up again and to an upbeat, rhythmic march they dance the same elastic, powerful movements, descending deeply to the floor and rising up, accelerating and morphing into an energetic bunny hop from which Hulford disengages and walks one last time towards us with his intense gaze. The Age is a rather bleak work, but full of almost dream-like images, both still and moving, that Hoyland and Hulford so effectively portray.

Accompany: Sita Ostheimer and Christopher Evans

After visiting some of the more profound life states for much of the evening, it is a relief to bubble to the surface with Sita Ostheimer and Christopher Evans in their Accompany. The program note says simply that Sita and Chris are a couple. Onstage, they definitely are, in which case the description is redundant; so presumably it refers to their offstage status. Certainly there is a naturalness in their antics and banter, most of which is recorded. So here is a couple playing themselves with their recorded voices, performing the process of creating the work you are now seeing that finishes with its starting point like Escher’s famous hand drawing itself. It is refreshingly relaxed but its craft is not to be underestimated. We have already seen Ostheimer dance in the first piece, so it is good to see and hear her sense of fun. We see tantalizingly little dancing from Evans but what do you expect in a performance of unrealized expectations? There is no music either, as Ostheimer explains; just background sound, for which the program credits Charlie, Lawry and Ed. They have dressed the silence with layers of recorded voice, distorted voice, snatches of song and conversational snippets between Ostheimer and Evans that unify the conceptual nature of the work. There are songs listed in the credits – Damien Rice, Stephan Micus and Meret Becker – but they seem to have shared the fate of the African idea, the highway idea, the pulling-people-out-of-the-front-row idea and the speaker idea. The best idea is the idea of the work itself.

I recently attended a choreographic evening by Rambert Dance Company and it is interesting to compare the two. Both companies are giving opportunities for aspiring choreographers to hone their choreographic skills and gain experience in a performance setting with full production values. The differences arise from the nature of the two companies: Rambert has a varied repertoire by different choreographers, whereas Schechter is the sole creator, both of music and dance. Rambert has a policy for their choreographers of working with commissioned scores played live – for the most part – by an orchestra. Schechter’s dancers used three scores from two of the company’s own musicians, Joel Harries and Joe Ashwin, and there is a clear influence of the engulfing Schechtian sound on all five works. The works at Rambert were varied between narrative, abstract and psychological, whereas Schechter’s group was surprisingly narrowly focused on expressing (however well) the somber-bordering-on-depressing psychological states, notwithstanding the lighthearted bounce at the end. It would be interesting to see what the Schechter choreographers would do with an orchestral score, and what the Rambert dancers would do with a Joel Harries soundscape. Perhaps it is simply the natural process of young choreographers expressing the dominant influence of their respective companies, but I had the feeling that the young Rambert choreographers were creating in a more open environment than those in Schechter’s. What is important, however, is that these choreographic evenings continue to be supported, and that the choreographers who choose to develop their ideas will find their own voices.