Sense, nonsense, tension and meaning.
7:51 AM, Dec 1, 2010 • By NATALIE AXTON
If you read the press release for Neil Greenberg’s like a vase at the Dance Theatre Workshop here in New York, you will learn that the 60-minute dance “explores the tensions created by the seemingly inescapable human desire to make meaning.”
Neil Greenberg and Johnni Durango in Greenberg's like a vase
This sounds good, and it might pique your interest in the veteran choreographer’s latest effort. Greenberg is a choreographer with a linguistic bent. Words can show up in his work, and I mean literally. If Greenberg is interested in “meaning” and its effect, this could mean he’s looking into miscommunication--an artistic premise for which dance is aptly suited. If so, then the “tensions” of the dance might be the voices in our heads, which form a static soundtrack to the disconnect between truth and representation. Narrative is a collision of these varying perceptions. I call this the love-is-a-vector theorem. That sounds good, too.
Of course the “inescapable human desire to make meaning” is why we humans make art in the first place. Neil Greenberg, an excellent choreographer, has made a meaningless dance. I would call it pretty, but I think I might get in trouble. Instead, let’s say that, like a vase, the dance has an objective . . . aspect; unlike a vase, its only utility is in being watched and being described. like a vase contains nothing save our expectations. Its form is its only content.
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