Friday, December 18, 2009

The Faun Is Timeless

Friends of FAUN respond to the recent review in the NY TIMES

painting by Bernadette Wulf
Re: Roslyn Sulchas, "A 5000-Year-Old Being Without Physical Limits"
December 16, 2009

Dear Editor,
I attended the performance of Tamar Rogoff's "Diagnosis of a Faun" that Roslyn Sulcas reviewed. After reading the review, I began to doubt we saw the same show. She seems to have watched Gregg Mozgala "stretching indolently" as the Faun at the opening and then turned off her interpretive eyes. I am no dancer, but what I saw was the Faun languorously awakening to the sexual chargedness that shaped the rest of the performance.
It unfolded into the contrasting dialectic between the two pas de deux, the first a pas de desir with the second doctor and the second a pas-d'-amour with the nymph. Ms. Sulchas seems to have missed entirely the subtler plays ("...the rest of the story doesn't matter too much") between wholeness/halfness, back stage (forest)/front stage (operating room) as well as the contrasting motions from the sides.
What she really missed was Ms. Rogoff's magic elixir of fantasy world (fauns and nymphs) intersecting with the real world (an injured achilles, an operation), and wittiness (the second doctor turning upstage and revealing a very undoctorly bit of leg) joined with moments that were truly touching (the doctor's pas de deux with the ballerina he has healed to dance again).
Ms. Sulcas would have been more honest if she had told her editor "I don't get it. I just don't like this piece. Get someone else to review." I could have even understood her saying "I don't like this work" but she was afraid to state that. Strangely for a New York Times dance reviewer, Ms. Sulchas seems deficient in the history of dance. 
Ms. Rogoff pushes the envelop to the edge, challenging our perceptions in the gray-flannel world. She also challenges our perceptions of what dance is about and which emotions it evokes.

Frank K. Flinn- St. Louis, MO

-From Alice Bloch-

Dear Tamar, Gregg, Emily, Lucie, and Don,

What Times review? Didn't she see the show? Did she decide in advance what she was going to see and write about that? Is she the same person who reviewed Clare's solo? that reviewer couldn't get around the fact that CLARE DANES was performing. I felt some of the same about this--she decided what it was going to be about. It is also sort of like when Arlene Croce refused to review Bill T Jones "Still Here," because she said the interviews he used with the very ill prevented it from being considered as a work of art.

And Lucie and Emily, I have seen lots of really good dancers and that now includes both of you!

The other thing that is so off base is that she couldn't see what an ensemble show this is--that each of you are so powerfully yourselves, and yet something more.

Please go by the laughs, sighs, and applause of your delighted audiences--which include some really sophisticated viewers--and let this one go.

Frank is writing a letter to the Times. he will send you a copy.

He also sent on an article about a St Louis MD who has a huge research grant to help CP people walk by strengthening their ankles--but his mehtod is pure Western medicine--all machines and reps. Still, things are moving , so to speak, and maybe Tamar and this doc can get in touch and maybe that will help you get to StL. Have a wonderful closing weekend.

Love and many bravos,



-From Anita Michael NYC, NY-
Was that woman even in the theatre, watching the performance, or was she on drugs? How is it that everyone of us who witnessed that performance was able to see and feel the beauty, depth, art and humor of the work, and she didn't get it? This is why I personally never read reviews, until after I've seen the work. I don't follow this reviewer's work although I do see lots of dance. She is totally out to lunch. And I say that not based on any connection to you, Tamar, but because one knows when one experiences trancendant art, which Diagnosis of a Faun is. Let's face it most innovative art was not understood or appreciated at the time it was first presented. All I can say is Phooey on Sulkus for not being able to truly see what she was looking at. Never let grandiose jerks like her stand in your way.  You have the gift, and you graced, and touched us all with it on Saturday evening.  With admiration, deep respect, and friendship.

Sent from my iPhone

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
-Theodore Roosevelt 

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