The artwork of fugue is an additive one, an art of sequence. In that compositional manner, a concept launched by a person voice is successively taken up by many others, overlapping, normally in augmented or diminished kind. Every new arrival affects what has appear prior to.
The veteran choreographer Zvi Gotheiner designed his “The Artwork of Fugue,” partly established to Bach’s composition of that title, at the start out of this year. His enterprise, ZviDance, filmed a model of it for Montclair Condition University’s Peak Performances sequence. It was a “by adding our voices collectively, we can continue to make artwork for the duration of a pandemic” piece.
But then, in late March, Gotheiner, who is also a beloved dance teacher, had a stroke, which partly paralyzed the remaining aspect of his physique.
And when his “Art of Fugue” experienced its stay premiere — at New York Dwell Arts on Thursday, with Gotheiner seeing in a wheelchair — understanding of that occasion, like a late-arriving voice, modified the work. Much more than right before, the dance registered as a struggle to preserve going, a function of restoration.
It starts in silence, as if at the get started of a rehearsal, with a couple dancers amid folding chairs doing work out a phrase or remembering one particular — clapping out a rhythm, translating it into motion. Gradually, the relaxation of the adept eight-member cast comes and joins in, and soon we are looking at and hearing counterpoint.
When the to start with Bach recording plays, the relationship is clear. With out strictly mirroring the musical voices, the eclectic choreography mimics fugal form. It is extremely attuned to Bach’s rhythms, sounding them out with people-dance footwork. Robust, expansive, it does not handle the Bach politely. It rides the Baroque like a bronco.
And there are other voices. Joshua Higgason’s video projections often multiply a soloist’s impression, each copy or visible echo delayed so that the solo turns into a spherical. Other instances, the online video doubles blur, in a woozy double-eyesight impact. Typically the movie angle is from overhead, developing viewpoint shifts that the choreography also plays with: An early segment returns afterwards in a diverse orientation, as if the place had rotated 90 degrees.
This is all intriguing, even if some of the video effects seem gratuitous (the dancer trapped in a virtual web) or just odd (a fuzzy doughnut condition). The really obtrusive, diminishing voice is the digital tunes that alternates with the Bach, by Gotheiner’s longtime collaborator Scott Killian. With its minimal growls and excitement-saw leap-scares, it appears like unused scraps from a Hans Zimmer rating for “Inception” or “Dune.”
Rather than currently being out of character with the choreography, even though, Killian’s score regrettably matches a excellent of unconvincing emotional excessive in it. Even the Bach sections are laden with portentous, hefty-handed gestures, making an attempt way too really hard to squeeze out the which means in Bach’s math. An early solo by the arrow-like Nat Wilson is compellingly schizophrenic, but considerably else overshoots, like the ending, which seems to be like a 12-stage conference for dancers who have misplaced their feeling of harmony.
On Thursday, however, this ending was not quite the close. And what happened next was theatrical and more than-the-top rated and fully persuasive. All through the bows, Gotheiner arrived in his wheelchair. In response to a standing ovation from followers and pupils, he rose to his toes. And walked. And enable go of his cane to elevate his ideal arm. It was like one thing not out of a Bach fugue, but a Bach mass.
The Artwork of Fugue
By Saturday at New York Stay Arts in Manhattan newyorklivearts.org.