Back from Chicago, and what a great trip – wish I could have stayed longer. To be honest, when I found out that my piece was going to be choreographed, I thought, “well, that’s a bad idea.” Dance and music make natural partners, but a huge portion of The Better Angels of Our Nature involves spoken text. Language is, well, literal, and dance that gets too literal has a hard time taking flight.
But I was proven wrong. Venetia Stifler’s choreography was a gorgeous mix of the specific and the abstract. The mass of crumpled bodies over which one dancer rose, eagle-like, at the conclusion of the first movement was a perfect complement to the text, in which Lincoln courageously rose above the petty maneuverings of contemporary politics to uphold the value of integrity.
Welz Kauffman’s voice has a special presence perfectly suited to these majestic words, and he has a standup’s impeccable timing. Afterwards, he suggested some preliminary plans to take the performance on tour, which I hope will come to pass.
And what a pleasure to spend time with these excellent dancers. I have great admiration for people who can move with all of the fluidity and specificity of water poured from a pitcher, especially as I feel like my own moves more closely resemble ice cubes dropped on linoleum.
Speaking of shortcomings, there are a few bars at the beginning of the piece that would benefit from a quick rewrite. Think I’ll stop blogging and get on that right now.