Here I am, at Spoleto USA 2005! The first week was certainly exhausting, but now that Die Vögel has had its opening night, the schedule has dropped off considerably - just in time for me to enjoy all the other festival performances.
The first one I went to was on Sunday night. It was called Improvography, and was a tap-dance show starring Savion Glover. However, it was really a jazz show, because Savion Glover is a jazz musician above everything else. He tapped on a raised, amplified wooden stage, and his feet were his instrument - he tooks solos, and accompanied the rest of the band's solos, and performed little duets with them, and all of it, just like the drummer (if a little more flashy!) His athleticism and dancing were superb, but his primary commitment was to the music, not to the visuals, and every step he took was for the sound it made. It was amazing - I don't know how he kept his body relaxed through that relentless dancing. And his three back-up dancers were amazing as well - when they all danced together, it sounded like one person, they had the rhythm so firmly in their bodies. It was a wee bit long towards the end, especially in a cold theater, but on the whole really fabulous.
Yesterday (Monday) afternoon, I went to a concert of the James Madison University Chamber Choir (I think officially called the Madison Singers?) who were quite pleasant, but not really revelatory on any level. Also, everyone does Billy Joel's "And So It Goes." I know it's a nice song, but give it a rest, conductors of the world. And do we always have to end with a spiritual? Isn't that a little cliched?
Yesterday evening I saw Emio Greco, which was very modern, very avant-garde dance. It was beautiful, strange, and not particularly accessible - very abstract, and I was never sure what the point was. But it made a good contrast with Savion Glover - tap concentrates all the energy in the feet, and this dancing just flung energy out of every limb, using the entire body in all possible swings and curves and large-scale arcs and bends.
Tonight I switch from dance to theater, and if we don't have rehearsal too early tomorrow, I'll get to finally go to the daily chamber music concerts. I've seen other people being drawn to concerts and shows that reflect their particular interests, but I'm hoping while I'm here to absorb as wide a range of performances and art as possible.