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Monday, November 12, 2012

Untrained—Naked Onstage (so to speak)

We're so used to seeing highly trained dancers in New York that we forget how very different they are from your average plebe—how much they've learned, and how much they've forgotten, for better or worse.

In Lucy Guerin's Untrained (BAM Fisher, Nov 27—Dec 1), trained dancers, alongside untrained performers, translate into movement instructions written on cards. The results are charming, poignant, and at times hilarious. That's not to say the untrained guys are without gifts. Guerin explains a bit:



Here's a brief sampling of the written instructions the dancers follow, although they vary between performances:

    • Stand
    • Think 3 emotions
    • Pose for a photograph
    • Say name backwards
    • Present bits of yourself
    • Stand on one leg, close eyes and look up
    • Do a groovy dance that reflects your character
    • Do a ta-da move
    • Fall over in slow motion
    • Draw a portrait
    • Star Jump
    • Wicked stag
    • Cartwheel
    • Jump the length of the square
    • Tell us about a physical insecurity
    • Cry of anguish
    • Electrified Cat

      Try some in the privacy of your home, then come and see Untrained's amateurs, and pros, interpret them. And gain a newfound—or renewed—respect for the art and craft of dancing as well as the depth of the admirable humility your fellow humans can summon.

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