“Dancing was about learning to disassociate,” the narrator of Lola Lafon’s 2022 novel Reeling informs us early on. “Feet like daggers, wrists like ribbons. Power and languor. Smiling despite persistent pain, smiling despite nausea.” This declaration, only five or so pages in, strikes as piercingly as the daggers Lafon imagines for feet. What in this compulsion towards violence, I wondered, is so imperative when telling a story about dance? Scarcely a narrative arises that is not characterized by gruesome extremes. Black Swan, with its body horror, comes to mind, as does Gelsey Kirkland’s 1986 memoir Dancing on My Grave, infamous for its depiction of drug abuse and eating disorders.
The son of a painter and a set designer, director/choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot was, it seems, destined to have a life in the theater. Born and raised in Tours, in central France, in 1960, he studied dance and piano at the Conservatoire Nacional de Région de Tours before joining the Rosella Hightower International School of Dance in Cannes.Continue Reading
One would think that a dance inspired by the events of the January 6 insurrection—yes, a dance!—would not be the ideal stuff of theater, but the eight members of Laurie Sefton Creates (formerly Clairobscur Dance Company), succeeded in giving life to Sefton’s premiere “Herd. Person?”, while the dance, itself, was occasionally problematic.Continue Reading