2013 Spring Teaching Artist Susan Rethorst: The Choreographic Mind a Work
In her first-ever Bay Area appearance, internationally renowned teacher Susan Rethorst will offer a composition workshop for students of choreography, dancers and performance artists. This exploratory afternoon will extend from the idea that making is an endless quest on ever shifting ground. Rethorst encourages artists to fuel their work with questions, rather than to focus on themes, plans or prerequisites. She regards teaching as a conversational mode: her exercises are proposals in action. This afternoon workshop will introduce her suggestion that 'making is thinking' and her idea of a 'choreographic mind'.
Over the course of her residency, Susan Rethorst taught a composition workshop, read from her new book A Choreographic Mind: Autobodygraphical Writings and set Behold Bold Sam Dog on a cast of local performers: Katie Faulkner, Aura Fischbeck, Christy Funsch, Peiling Kao, Deborah Karp, Hope Mohr, Phoenicia Pettyjohn, Erin Mei-Ling Stuart, which was performed alongside HMD in the company’s 6th annual home season at ODC Theater May 3-5, 2013.
“Behold Bold Sam Dog” proves that contemporary choreography can be technically rigorous, yet still wacky, fun and wildly entertaining. Organized in a pseudo-concerto form, “Behold Bold Sam Dog” oscillated between featured sections (solos, duets and trios) and ritornellos (larger groupings of the cast). The dance also toggled back and forth from unaccompanied variations to those scored by music, primarily Shostakovich, with a little Beatles peppered in at the end. Variety in music was met by a wonderful variety of movement: suspension and fall; contraction and release; flexion and extension. One solo section - appearing in the middle of the piece and then returning to close “Behold Bold Sam Dog” -deserves special mention for its multi-layered genius. A dancer moved about the space, changing direction in a low and slow modern-jazz run. She looked like she was jumping over puddles – it was whimsical, musical, simplistic, and completely hypnotizing." ---Heather Desaulniers
-- Irene Hsiao, "Theory and Practice: Hope Mohr Dance, reviewed", SF Weekly, May 7, 2013