The work of Susan Marshall, hailed by The New York Times as “one of the most significant choreographers working today,” combines explosive athleticism with subtle yet familiar movements drawn from daily life.
This month her troupe, Susan Marshall & Company, will present Cloudless, an evening-length collection of solos, duets and small group pieces, as part of the Edison Theatre OVATIONS! Series at Washington University.
Performances begin at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 28 and 29. Tickets are $30; $25 seniors and Washington University faculty and staff; and $18 for students and children. Tickets are available at the Edison Theatre Box Office and through all MetroTix outlets. Edison Theatre is located in the Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.
For more information, call (314) 935-6543 or email Edison@wustl.edu.
Marshall, the recipient of a 2000 MacArthur Foundation “genius award,” got her start in 1982, creating works for CoDanceCo, a New York repertory company; and at The Yard, the venerable performing arts colony on Martha’s Vineyard, where her collaborators included dancers Arthur Armijo and David Dorfman (the latter a Washington University alumnus).
Marshall presented her first evening-length concerts shortly thereafter, at New York’s Emanu-El Midtown YM-YWHA and PS 122. In 1985 she began what would become a long-term relationship with the city’s Dance Theatre Workshop, presenting a weeklong season as Susan Marshall & Company. The warm critical reception included the first of the company’s 10 New York Dance and Performance, or “Bessie,” Awards.
Over the years Marshall’s work has evolved from short, intimate duets such as Arms (1984) and Kiss (1987) — both of which remain in repertory — to large-scale, evening-length works such as The Descent Beckons (1999), The Most Dangerous Room in the House (1998) and Les Enfants Terribles (The Children of the Game) (1996), created in collaboration with composer Philip Glass.
Cloudless, which debuted at Dance Theatre Workshop in 2006, was created to celebrate the company’s 20th anniversary and revisits many of the themes that have defined Marshall’s career. Structured as a collection of short stories, the concert is comprised of 18 poetic yet unpredictable vignettes, ranging in length from 30 seconds to 5 minutes, that wed formal dance structures with everyday motions and gestures — an embrace, a touch, a turn of the head. The results blur the line between narrative and abstract dance, and gather increasing emotional force as the evening progresses.
“The fascination of Marshall’s work lies in the way her intelligently calibrated constructions reveal nuances of human emotion,” notes New York Magazine. “Her central subject matter seems to be the complexity of intimate relationships, the absurdities and even hidden hostilities that form part of even the tenderest friendship, the sweetest romance.”
In 2006 Cloudless received the Bessie Award for Outstanding Choreographic Achievement — Marshall’s third win in the category. Other honors, in addition to the MacArthur Fellowship, include an American Choreographer Award, a Dance Magazine Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Brandeis University Creative Arts Citation and two NYSCA Fellowships.
Susan Marshall & Company appears at dozens of international festivals annually, including the Edinburgh International Festival, Festival International de Nouvelle Danse in Montreal, Spoleto, the American Dance Festival, Vienna Tanz and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival.
Marshall also has created dances for the Lyon Opera Ballet, the Frankfurt Ballet, the Boston Ballet and Montreal Danse, among others. She recently provided stage direction for Philip Glass’ Book of Longing, based on the poetry of Leonard Cohen, and choreographed dances in operas staged for the Los Angeles Music Center and the New York City Opera.
Founded in 1973, the Edison Theatre OVATIONS! Series serves both Washington University and the St. Louis community by providing the highest caliber national and international artists in music, dance and theater, performing new works as well as innovative interpretations of classical material not otherwise seen in St. Louis.
Edison Theatre programs are made possible with support from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; the Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis; and private contributors. The OVATIONS! Season is supported by The Mid-America Arts Alliance with generous underwriting by the National Endowment for the Arts and foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.
WHO: Susan Marshall & Company
WHAT: Dance concert, Cloudless
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 28 and 29
WHERE: Edison Theatre, Washington University, Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.
TICKETS: $30; $25 for seniors and WUSTL faculty and staff; $18 for students and children. Available through the Edison Theatre Box Office, (314) 935-6543, and all MetroTix outlets.
SPONSOR: Edison Theatre OVATIONS! Series
INFORMATION: (314) 935-6543 or edisontheatre.wustl.edu