Brian Brooks Endures at the CFA (July 12 & 13)

Pamela Tatge, Director of the Center for the Arts, talks to choreographer Brian Brooks about the works that will be performed by his dance company at Wesleyan (July 12 & 13).

Brian Brooks Moving Company performs "Big City" (2012). Photo by David Bazemore.

Center for the Arts staff members and I sat down recently with Brian Brooks, choreographer for Brian Brooks Moving Company, to hear him talk about his upcoming performances in the CFA Theater on Thursday, July 12 and Friday, July 13.

The Brian Brooks Moving Company will perform four pieces at Wesleyan as part of a ten-city tour that will take them straight from Middletown to the American Dance Festival in Durham, North Carolina. We are thrilled to invite Brian back to Wesleyan; he has been a dear friend of the CFA for many years. We gave the Brian Brooks Moving Company their first engagement outside of New York City as a part of the Breaking Ground Dance Series back in November 2002, and since then, Brian has made special trips to Wesleyan in March to teach Master Classes during DanceMasters Weekend.

As Brian explained to us, the four works he will present at Wesleyan are his most recent works – all created in the last three or four years. The collection will give audiences a strong sense of where Brian Brooks as an artist is in 2012. A common theme among the pieces is endurance – of the mind, of the body, of the artist.

The evening will start with I’m Going to Explode (2007), Mr. Brooks’ signature solo piece. Mr. Brooks has performed this piece — which he describes as “an entry point to who [Brian Brooks] might be” — more often than any other piece he has created.

Mr. Brooks describes the next piece, a group piece titled Descent (2011),  as “otherworldly,” “off balance,” “water-like” and “dense.” As the name suggests, the piece deals with a state of perpetual fall. Although the dancers constantly fall, they also support one another. This particular piece is designed, too, to showcase the partnering of the dancers in the piece. The dancers move in pairs and navigate the watery, dreamlike world together.

Next, we’ll be treated to the duet from Motor (2010), which was inspired by Mr. Brooks’ experience as a runner and racer. This work premiered in August 2010 at the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival in New York City, and is a testament to the endurance and athleticism of dancers.

And finally, after intermission, we’ll see the New England premiere of the company’s newest piece, Big City (2012), a 44 minute work for seven dancers. Mr. Brooks describes this last piece as “overwhelming” and “lavish – but not frivolous.” The scale is large and the audience will watch as hundreds of pieces of metal literally unfold throughout the piece, altering the landscape of the theater and the way the dancers interact with it and within it. But the piece is also cyclical and as we watch the construction of a “big city,” we marvel at our resilience and at our capacity to rebuild against all odds. We hope you’ll join us!

Brian Brooks Moving Company
Thursday, July 12 & Friday, July 13, 2012 at 8pm

CFA Theater

$22 general public; $19 seniors, Wesleyan faculty & staff; $10 students

6 thoughts on “Brian Brooks Endures at the CFA (July 12 & 13)”

  1. Maybe being a big city girl and loving the vibrant life of a big city I have a different idea than Brian Brooks of what a big city is all about. I found the performance boring and bordering on the offensive. The costumes were beyond ugly, inspired from depression era paintings of the thirties. The dancers worked together well. and the intricate choreography was admirably rendered, but they looked so bored. The beautiful metal armature representing the city’s architecture was fascinating but it existed separate from what the dancers were doing. Is the message really that old stereotype that the city is an overwhelming, impersonal place? Am I supposed to worry about these robotic mindless people ? Yuk! Go back to the suburbs!
    On the other hand, the second half of the performance was unique. The music, the sets, the lighting and the choreography were beautifully integrated. Each of the shorter pieces have stayed in my mind like a wonderful, exciting world I was privileged to enter. It was a visual experience I will be remembering for a very long time. I am especially haunted by the duet of the two men in bathing suits shadowing one another in such a beautiful, muscular, graceful way. And Brooks solo was a masterful use of space and silence and movement.
    A wonderful evening. Even the audience was more interesting than usual. Bravo CFA.

  2. boring, tedious, repetitive…when the installation is more interesting than the choreography that is a sure sign that something is amiss…the dancers were wonderful but the piece was far too long and there was little or no connection between the metal and the flesh…after many years of attending the dance series at wesleyan, this was definitely one of the least enjoyed.

  3. I think Brian Brooks is a phenomenal choreographer & dancer. Watching the company dance was watching art in motion. The dancing was young & fresh.

    I went to the Thursday night showing & very much enjoyed the Q&A session afterwards. I understand the previous comments on the large scenery in ‘Big City’, however, when I finally stopped anticipating the purpose of it, my mind began to wander to all kinds of metaphors for it, as in the things we build around ourselves that trap us.

    The students from CCY seemed to very much enjoy it and the dancers Brian Brooks held master classes with think he’s genius. One young man called him, “The coolest guy I ever met.” Kudos to Wesleyan for hosting Brian Brooks.

  4. I have great respect for Brian Brooks as a dancer and choreographer. On Friday evening, the first half of the show was fresh, imaginative, lively and engaging. Brooks extended the choreographic vocabulary, and his company delivered with great energy. Even the lighting was outstanding.

    After a very lengthy intermission, Big City finally began. I know Mr. Brooks had substantial grants to produce a large work, but sometimes more is less. The prop–all that metal–was interesting at first, but the dancers scarcely used it. Was it just an expensive piece of scenery? In a big city, there is a lot going on that is independent of the rest. In Big City, it was amazing how 7 dancers could create so many distractions, and leave the audience struggling to integrate the parts. In a long piece, the movement can tell a story, or it can elaborate a theme and variations; but if not, the emotional impact does not jell, and the result for this viewer is fatigue. The repetition may convey something essential to city life, but does that justify a 44 minute piece? Imagine a distilled Big City 2, in 20 minutes, without the props, that presents 98% of the artistic vision and implies the rest.

  5. First Wesleyan performance we’ve ever been disappointed in. Technically and artistically the dancers are wonderful, but the choreography is relentlessly the same in pace and dimension. The 45 min intermission for a 30 minute second half was painful.

  6. My husband and I thought the Brian Brooks Moving Company was and is amazing. The dances were simplicity, elegance and choreographed beautifully.
    We would certainly attend another performance from the Brian Brooks Moving Company at the Wesleyan University again. Definitely, you should have them back every year.

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