The Unbearable Banishment: A horse is a horse, of course, of course.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

A horse is a horse, of course, of course.

The past week, artist Nick Cave (Not Nick Cave from the Bad Seeds. This one is African American.) along with Chicago-based choreographer William Gill and students from the Alvin Ailey Dance School presented HEARD•NY in Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Station. 30 ornate, life size horses were created to gallivant and frolic around the hall.

At the beginning of each performance, dancers would line up, two per horse.

One dancer would don the back half of the horse...

...then the other dancer would attach the head and they would join.

The horses promenaded around the hall, welcoming guests, delighting children and, in the case of a few wee ones, scaring the hell out of them.

A harpist played. Notes gently filled Vanderbilt Hall and the horses pranced and glided in a choreographed routine.

Then a drum kicked in. The front and back halves of the horses separated and a wild rumpus began.

The drumming and dancing became more frantic.

Until, finally, the rhythm died and the two halves found each other a joined once again.

The piece ended about :20 minutes later as it started, with the gentle wandering of the horses.

The music stopped and the exhausted dancers shed their equine skin.


Blogger dinahmow said...

Fantastic! And just half an hour ago I read about this on a sketchblog
and wished I could see it.Thank you!

March 31, 2013 at 9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the right combination of substances I could be just as terrified as the little ones seeing this, especially when the horses come apart. I wonder how long it took to make those costumes?

March 31, 2013 at 10:55 PM  
Blogger Gorilla Bananas said...

Great horse costumes and interesting rump movements. Were people deliberately shaking their butts to make the horses' rumps move that way?

April 1, 2013 at 3:29 AM  
Blogger Ms Scarlet said...

Are there Youtubes here? My iPad isn't doing Youtubes on blogs at the minute, so I will have to imagine. Thanks to Mr Bananas I am imagining a lot of bottom wiggling.

April 1, 2013 at 5:28 AM  
Blogger OldLady Of The Hills said...

The costumes are soooo very colorful and clever....This was competely charming! I love the way the costumes moved when the Horses were all in one piece AND when they were apart, too! MARVELOUS!!!

April 1, 2013 at 5:38 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Urban Sketchers beat me to it by :30 minutes. Scooped again! No matter. Their drawings are beautiful but I included film clips. Maybe I'll put a link over there to here.

April 1, 2013 at 7:07 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

At the end of each performance, the floor was strewn with long hairs that had fallen off the horse costume. I'm thinking the costumes have to be constantly reworked. This piece has appeared in other cities as well.

April 1, 2013 at 7:09 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

The rump movements were part of a universal choreography that I think we all understand. Even in the simian community.

April 1, 2013 at 7:10 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

They're not YouTubes. I uploaded them directly to the post. Ironically, I can't view them from the very iPhone I used to take the videos! Friggin' Apple won't play well with Flash. You'll have to get to a PC, an Apple desktop, or use your imagination. The rumps move up and down, round and round. It's quite a show.

April 1, 2013 at 7:14 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

The performance space was quite small and it filled up quickly. I had to get there about :30 minutes prior to the start to secure a halfway decent spot. Shows were at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. for one week. Each showing packed to capacity.

April 1, 2013 at 7:16 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Rump movements and many, many horses asses, there is a little singing fella in all of us if only we look hard enough.

April 1, 2013 at 9:46 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

There were so many horses asses that for a moment I thought I was back in my office. Minus the creativity and joy.

April 1, 2013 at 11:26 AM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

Bravo! Performance art that genuinely entertains, rather than befuddles! Thank you for sharing this - i am a simple minded woman and this made me smile! Love the arse shaking... just can't go wrong with fringe, too!

April 1, 2013 at 12:35 PM  
Blogger savannah said...

now THIS is performance art! LOL good capture, sugar. xoxoxox

April 1, 2013 at 5:16 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

This is what I'm talking about. Accessible works that are fun and beautiful. That same afternoon I went to the Guggenheim with my sister and saw a lot of crap. A LOT.

April 1, 2013 at 5:50 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I enjoyed it so much that I saw a performance on Thursday and went back on Friday. It was free and just a short walk away. How could I resist?

April 1, 2013 at 5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I particularly enjoy being at this kind of thing with children and watching their mixture of fear and delight.

Dance has given me some of the most memorable, gut-turning, exultant artistic experiences of my life and I really hope my daughters will develop an interest in it too.

April 2, 2013 at 5:05 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I took a few pics of kids in the audience. Big joyful looks on their faces. None of them turned out, unfortunately. Dance has run hot and cold with me throughout the years. I've been equal parts moved and baffled. Some of it is strikingly beautiful and sometimes it looks like the dance of dying poultry.

April 2, 2013 at 6:54 AM  
Blogger mapstew said...

@ Chef: I WAS almost in you Sunday neet when ya sat on the wrong stool after a visit to the gents!

April 2, 2013 at 7:36 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

That would have been a rude awakening. We're working blue!

April 2, 2013 at 9:47 PM  
Blogger Eryl said...

How marvellous, my son would have loved that when he was little. He probably still would, in fact.

April 3, 2013 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Age is no barometer for enjoyment! Heck, I'm [mumble-mumble] years old and I loved it!

April 3, 2013 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

Looks tremendous fun; great costumes and it's good the back end(of the horses) had their moment in the sun too.

April 4, 2013 at 4:26 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

It looked like the back end dancers were doing all the heavy lifting. When it was over and the costumes came off, they were panting from exhaustion but they had big smiles on their faces. They were just kids, really.

April 4, 2013 at 7:00 AM  

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