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Jack Anderson

The Return of "Necessary Weather"

"Necessary Weather"
Original concept: Dana Reitz
Choreographic design: Dana Reitz with Jennifer Tipton and Sara Rudner
Lighting: Jennifer Tipton with Dana Reitz
Costumes: Santo Loquasto
Jerome Robbins Theater at Baryshnikov Arts Center, 450 West 37th Street, Clinton
May 13-15, 2010 (closed)
Information: www.bacny.org
Reviewed by Jack Anderson, May 15, 2010

Sara Rudner and Dana Reitz in "Necessary Weather." Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

After Dana Reitz and Sara Rudner entered at the start of "Necessary Weather," they kneeled facing upstage, as if beholding in the distance a steady coming of the light or, possibly, a gradually mounting darkness. When they rose to dance, light danced with them, and so did darkness in this work created in 1994 by two marvelous dancers, Reitz and Rudner, and a magical lighting designer, Jennifer Tipton. Because it has not been performed in New York since its much acclaimed premiere, its revival generated considerable curiosity and proved worthy of renewed acclaim.

Wearing loose white pajama-like costumes, Reitz and Rudner progressed through states of brightness and dimness, often letting a raised arm acknowledge the miracle of the light in which we all live. Movements tended to be liquid: Reitz's flowing gestures sometimes suggested Tai Chi, while Rudner's twists and body ripples were punctuated by little pauses and accelerations. They went in and out of light: dimness gathered around them, wrapping them in a twilight haze, yet new dawns also broke upon them. At one point, they contemplated a large lake of light on the floor. At several other moments, there were four pools of light, each dancer occupying one of them like its guardian spirit, while the other two pools glowed like moons. The women also danced with their ever-changing shadows.

Sara Rudner and Dana Reitz in "Necessary Weather." Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Most of the time, the women Reitz and Rudner portrayed got along well and looked at home in their realm of light. Even so, there were moments when one seemed more confident than the other. And much of the time each stood apart from the other. But after a sequence of nervous pacing, they neared, held hands, and nestled together.

"Necessary Weather" always radiated high seriousness, yet avoided solemnity. Thus, in one scene, Reitz looked jaunty holding a floppy straw hat which, when she presented it to Rudner, glowed like a lantern. Although there was no musical accompaniment, there were sporadic bits of sound, as when the dancers occasionally were heard muttering faintly, as if giving each other verbal cues. And when their steps resembled a loose-limbed softshoe routine, they hummed "Tea for Two" almost inaudibly, yet just clearly enough to make dancegoers smile.

Despite such little sonic episodes, this was essentially a dance in silence. But the silence involved more than the absence of sound. Reitz, Rudner, and Tipton somehow made silence an almost palpable presence that seemed electric and aroused expectations about what might happen next. Something wondrous always did.


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