CJ/MAPs finished 2004 with a bang up NYC season at the Cunningham Dance Studio Theater in November-AWAKENING DANCING GODDESSES! Three nights of full enthusiastic audiences even during a very busy NYC dancing time in NYC... (we were the same weekend as Pina Bausch at BAM and Meredith Monk's Retrospective Celebration at St. Marks). We were pleased to receive a great write-up in THE NEW YORKER about the show. I was also very pleased with the turnout and the audience response. I decided to go for an unusual combination of real history and historical fantasy in this show and it proved to be a great success. The first act of AWAKENING DANCING GODDESSES was dedicated to remembering Isadora Duncan, the Mother of Modern Dance, our very real modern dance goddess, and the second half of the show was dedicated to the dance history fantasy of waking up "imagined" goddesses of dance, the protectors of the dancing spirit of our city, who froze due to neglect. (too many people entranced by computers and cell phones forgetting to really move).

Guest Artists
I was happy to welcome Catherine Gallant and her company Dances By Isadora members Chriselle Tidrick and Michelle Cohen on the stage with me for the show. These elegant and talented women performed the actual choreography of Isadora Duncan as I performed contemporary work inspired by her life and legacy alongside. Throughout act 1, which we called - MEDITATIONS ON A DANCING GODDESS-ISADORA DUNCAN - they wafted on and off the stage, reminding us that history is always around us in some shape or form. It was wonderful to revisit the solos that I had premiered in 2001 as part of my show "Revealing Isadora...". I am always pleased to discover even more nuance and meaning in these dances as time goes on.

Premieres/New Visions of a Duncan Masterpiece/and Videotale
The second act of new work (3 premieres) focused on the creation of imaginary worlds - both whimsical and dark. We started off with a short introductory story - The Myth of The New City - on video. This tale, written by me, and set to video by Jeanne Finnerty and Ed Hanna, remembers a time when dance was VITAL to the New City, but suddenly, tragedy struck and all creative movement stopped - dancers froze. The only hope is to awaken the dancing goddesses of The New City, and thereby awaken the citizens to their creative, hopeful, dancing nature. I invited artists who I admire to work with the company to revive and awaken lost goddesses.

Rachel Cohen created the Goddess of Recycling with me and the wildly imaginative Agata Oleksiak and her paper costumes. Larry Keigwin brought the Goddess of the Playground to life along with Liz Prince's extra-ordinary costume and a set of pink balloons; and Janis Brenner envisioned The Goddess of Changing Landscapes - first with an original score she created of laughing/and crying, then a dance exploration. Catherine Gallant taught me Isadora Duncan's phenomenal "Revolutionary" circa 1923 to be the finale of the show. You see, in my dance history fantasy, I imagine that Isadora comes back to life to re-ignite the passion for dance in the hearts of humanity. Catherine encouraged me to discover my own interpretation of Isadora's traditional material while also coaching on what has been passed down through the generations. What strikes me is how simply the choreography makes its statement, yet within the confines of 2 minutes and repetitive movement themes, there is much room for interpretation. I was honored to dance this work and look foward to performing it again. Naoko Nagata's costume, composed of various white silks, with a slightly revealing midriff and unfinished edges, (the original costume was a red tunic) highlighted the weight and strength of the dance while placing it in a 21st Century context. This dance is timeless and Naoko's simple yet elegant contemporary costume underscored this beautifully.

O, Wake Up All Ye Dancers,The Time Has Come To Move
The thread that links Act 1 and Act 2 of AWAKENING DANCING GODDESSES is the idea of the necessity and importance of dance and creativity to life. Isadora Duncan believed this, I believe it, and so do the goddesses of this dancing city!

I believe the time is coming to awaken more dancing goddesses, that is what 2005 will be about for CJ/MAPs!


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