Are Choreographers’ Styles Immediately Recognizable?

Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 12:47 PM

The New York Times dance critic Roslyn Sulcas is absolutely correct when she says, “Although we don’t think about it much in daily life, the way someone moves is as distinctive as a voice or facial features. Of course some movements, voices or features are more striking than others.”

The article in today's Times is about choreographer Stephen Petronio, whose latest program of contemporary dance opened this week at the Joyce Theatre. He uses music that surprised (and thrilled) me a bit--bands like Radiohead and post-punk pioneers Wire are featured prominently in the program--and Sulcas’ descriptions of the way the dancers move made me think – what other choreographers’ styles are immediately recognizable? I think of Bob Fosse first. Then I think of Fred Astaire.

Who comes to mind first for you? If you were watching a performance on TV with the sound off, would the way the dancers move tell you who the choreographer was? Without the prairie costumes worn in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, would you know Michael Kidd’s choreography? Would Agnes de Mille’s work leap out at you?

Just some light questions for what looks to be a sunny, warm weekend. Whatever you do, enjoy it!

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Comments [2]

Kenneth Bennett Lane from Lake Hiawatha, NJ

Have you noticed how often someone whom you once knew well, but have not seen in a long time you can recognize at a distance, even if you are only seeing them from the back. Our body movements and body language reveal us like a template to others, subconsciously, like osmosis.
When you visit a museum, if you are an aficianado of art, you will recognize the artist's work by the style, no matter what the subject matter. In music, immediately you'll recognize a composer's music or a performer if you have heard them before AND IF YOU WERE IMPRESSED by what you heard. Lanza's and Caruso's voices, once heard, are readily recognized. Has someone ever said to you,"You've got some line!" That is usually meant, when so said, to be derogatory. But, it is how people relate to their life experiences.

May. 02 2010 07:18 PM
Liz from Brooklyn, NY

I could recognize the rows of girls decked out in glittery costumes filmed from above and rotating in circles typical of Busby Berkeley anywhere.

Apr. 29 2010 03:34 PM

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