Tea & Letters: Great Urban Spaces 2

Tea & Letters: Great Urban Spaces 2

Tea & Letters: Great Urban Spaces 2
Voci Dance
February 19, 2012
The Mennello Museum of American Art, Orlando, FL

It’s a windy breezy afternoon, pollen is in the air and oak leave skitter across the brick pavement at the Mennello Museum of American Art. ArtsFest has passed out some tickets to see this elaborate dance event and I’m about #80 on the list but I also have faith. All the ArtsFest events have a few no shows, and as you’ve heard showing up is 80% of success. While waiting for the show to start, I converse and eat a few cupcakes.

Love Letters We Do Not Like.

Love Letters We Do Not Like.

Voci shows tend to sneak up on you; a woman in a grey tattered dress stalks out of the crowd and wanders toward a large oak tree. The event begins as people focus on her and soon she’s unwrapping a roll of paper tape and reads a love letter in what might be Hungarian. More dancers appears, more scrolls unroll and soon a mass reading occurs, paper is shredded, and you wonder if this side of the romance will stick around. As love letters shred, one of the dancers steps up to the elevated statue of a seminude man mounted on a pole. He lives in the park, and the dancer introduces herself, makes a pass at him, and is rejected. His golden skin with the sun sparkling off it turns yellow and jaundiced, his eloquent hair gets the frizzies, and his exotic silence becomes annoying self indulgences. Good this she figured all this out before they picked a china pattern. Soon an “interval” is announced (That’s British for intermission) more cupcakes are consumed, and tea is passed out. All very elegant.

Pineing for the Man She Cannot Have.

Pineing for the Man She Cannot Have.

Our next excursion takes us in the darkened galley with a single dancer illuminated in an alcove. In another room we meet a young lady drinking imaginary tea from a real cup. Her motion is as close to ballet as anything today as she performs around a pin spot that normally highlights a piece of sculpture. We reunite in the “Big Gallery”; here Earl Cunningham’s primitives form the main attraction of the Mennello’s collection. Three huge oriental rugs are surrounded by metal folding chairs, and the entire troupe reforms. As Sarah Lockhart reads Old Fashioned rules for formal letter writing (check your spelling, read it before you send it, stuff we can safely ignore today) more paper rolls are shredded, more virtual tea is consumed, and soon the room is invaded by a large black and red puppet called “Godrick.” He’s intimidating but attracts a young woman with his charms, they to hit it off, and she will certainly have something to write about this evening. Then it s bit more tea, a bit more Victorian probity, and we are spun back out into a perfect Florida spring day. Its modern dance, the old fashioned way.

The Precision Tea Drinking Team

The Precision Tea Drinking Team

Rejoining indoors, the audience is split up into groups based on the color of their heart shaped doilies. My group enters a gallery dominated by an oversized gilt bronze statue of the museum’s patron; it blends Margaret Dumont and Maggie Thatcher in a Victorian dress and sets her on the bow of the Hesperus. A single dancer executes some delicate maneuvers on the floor but she can’t seem to find her light and it’s hard to ignore the Bronze Goddess. I think I missed the intended effect.

Beauty and the Felt Beast

Beauty and the Felt Beast

Other events and exhibits at the Mennello are described at http://www.mennellomuseum.com/

Visit www.vocidance.org for their next exciting dance event.

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