Sarah Michelson sees Daylight

7 thoughts on “Sarah Michelson sees Daylight”

  1. Chrissy Chu says:

    Since I live on the West coast now, can anyone who’s seen Daylight let me know their thought on the performamce. Thanks…& missing NYC

  2. Jeff Miller says:

    Utterly disappointed by the work and completely disillusioned by the NY dance critics who endorsed the artist. I was nothing if not excited to see her bold reconception of the venue (PS 122), a dark and awkwardly deep space transformed into a bright and intimate stage. The band was positioned behind the audience bleachers creating another dimension to the space. Her P.S. ‘extreme makeover’ extended beyond the 4 walls of the theater down the usually dank hallways of the former school that she whitewashed to enhance the feeling of daylight. She removed all of the ‘clutter’ (adverts for fellow dancers) that usually adorns the same hallway. However it became immediately evident that Ms Michelson spent a great deal of time redesigning and constructing the venue rather than constructing a solid piece of choreography.
    The stage was too small for the movement that she choreographed. Her dancers competed with walls, a front row of can lights and a poorly regulated ‘haze effect’. The stage was so shallow and the bleachers so clunky that all but the first row watched 4 floating torsos – and the top 4 rows of bleachers were forced to stand through the whole performance to even see that much. The movement was boring and incoherent. If you could look past the fact that the dancers were ‘pulling’ the choreography to avoid wacking the set or an audience member in the face you could still see that there was little to no substance or chemistry. I had read one NYTimes preview that went on at some length praising her acute attention to detail, explaining how she would choreograph the movement right down to the fingers of her dancers. The 4 dancers were lucky to coincide even the most basic moves or gestures originating from the hips or shoulders let alone down to their fingertips. The already sloppy and choppy movement was further broken by dreadfully long pauses that killed any momentum created by the repetitious choreography. She squandered every opportunity to take the choreography to the next level by either building on the base gestures and forms or repeating with any sort of precision the same movements that she so stubbornly held to.
    The next great disappointment came from the musical ‘accompaniment’. With little variation in movement, her choice of drastically disparate musical genres seemed poorly suited for the performance – more like a tragic jukebox on random playback. Much like the choreography and the paintings hung on the wall the music was muddled and sloppy as it blared over tinny speakers. The live music was fine.
    By far the most pretentious and self indulgent add ons were the two moments of spoken word ‘poetry?’ and what I believe was a sorry attempt at self referential humor near the very end of the piece.
    In short, the transformation of a cherished performance space is not enough to engage an audience for 90 minutes. I would have been pleased to see stronger work performed in 122’s normal digs. This was barely a good first draft.
    Lastly, i was distressed to read the reviews that seemed to be praising the artist (more the persona) rather than reviewing the work. I understand that Ms Michelson has recently suffered many trials and tribulations and as artists we all struggle to eke out a living doing what we love. However no one benefits from writing disingenuous puff pieces praising work with very little merit. Having no previous experience with Ms Michelson’s work I would like to believe the reviews praising her other endeavors, however I will definitely think twice about buying tickets to another performance.

  3. Terri says:

    I agree with Jeff comments, only mine are even harsher. I saw her performance in Minneapolis on 9/17/05 and was not impressed and neither were the other people we spoke with. The scowls on the faces told most of the story. I won’t go into detail, but user her as a opening for the new theater was bad business. I will defintely think four times before I buy another ticket to a performance at the Walker Art Center because it appearts their judgement is off.

  4. Joan Wortis says:

    The performance in Seattle at On The Boards echoes the experience in NY and Minneapolis. The whole performance seemed to thumb its nose at the audience. I found it poorly conceived and choreographed, boring and with its maximum 40 minutes of playing time (not including the poinless add on out in the street) a big waste of time and money. Like Terri, we will think twice before we buy tickets to On The Boards again.

  5. Chrissy Chu says:

    Thank you for all your feedback….Was there anyone out in the audience non-professional critic that liked it & why??

    Is Michelson worth all the hype & accolades?

  6. Blanca says:

    I saw “Daylight” here in New York and it moved me to tears. Had I seen it a couple of years before, I would have hated it. The reason I loved it is that I am now able to see the subtle aspects of life. When I was too young and inexperienced, my perception could only relate to a limited type of aesthetic (such as ballet) and my eye could only decipher the most obvious gestures. Big jumps, many turns and perfect synchronicity meant “good dance” to me. For the last three years I have been studying the complex world of the body-psyche connection and my perception has completely changed. I still love big jumps and many pirouettes but now I can also understand the fascinating world of modern dance.

    I loved the piece because somehow, without you even realizing it, gradually got you by the guts and made you feel some deep, complex feelings… feelings I can’t even describe. Sarah Michelson chose very unlikely elements (music, choreography, staging, costuming) that once put together evoked something completely different and much more powerful than what the elements would convey separately. The key ingredients that make everything work are her superb timing and musicality. She applies them in a deliciously subtle manner. Sitting there watching this performance my mind somehow managed to be deeply moved, enjoy its unique beauty, and have a thousand thoughts that had to do with the deep mysteries of my own life… all while having no idea what the story is about… now that’s abstraction.

    Just my experience of it….

  7. Chrissy Chu says:

    Thanks Bianca..that was very articulate. Thank you, c

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