View Some of the History

http://artsake.massculturalcouncil.org/blog/artsake/index.php/40-years-of-fellowships/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uB5Uk-Wjw2Q

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdLQxRIslyw

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Echo

Influence

Warp

Linage
Choreography by Diane Arvanites & Tommy Neblett, 2008
22 minutes
“Lignage, set to a selection of Maurizio Pollini’s extraordinary performances of Chopin’s Études, responds to the composer’s arpeggios and the music’s undertow but not its shapeliness. The all-woman company (Prometheus has included men in the past and adds them as projects require) wear mottled brown dresses so that as they run past one another they resemble autumn leaves scattered by random gusts. There’s a motif where Megan Schenk cupped her hands before her with a sense of calm expectancy; later, the older Nicole Sell Danizio repeated that gesture in a way that indicated she did not expect her empty hands to be filled.”

The Boston Phoenix

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Devil’s Wedding
Choreography by Diane Arvanites & Tommy Neblett, 2007
Commissioned by The Yard Performing Arts Colony, Chilmark, MA
25 minutes
“The audience jumped in their seats as the sound of gunshots rangout at the opening of the powerful work. The dancers dressed in black, head to toe, tried to escape from the gunfire that sometimes sounded like metal doors slamming shut. Even in the quieter moments, the characters never seemed relaxed. Their lives, at any moment, could change. Short bursts of movement such as one dancer leaving the group, perhaps climbing to escape, punctuated the slower almost in-unison movements. But each dancer maintained their individuality. Rather than blending into each other, their spirit came through. The contrast was riveting. When the dancers used burkas to cover and almost strangle themselves, the music became frantic. The burkas blinded and bound the women and yet their spirit would not be suppressed. Powerful and beautiful, “Devil’s Wedding” inspired the audience. At the same time, the dance is a cautionary tale, a look behind the veil at a frightening world.”

The Martha’s Vineyard Times

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Dievas Mannu / Full Moon
Choreography by Diane Arvanites & Tommy Neblett, 2006
25 minutes
“In Prometheus Dance’s new “Dievas Mannu / Full Moon”, snow falls and a pale light casts shadows of birch trees as hunters and hunted seem to intertwine in a mysterious nocturnal ritual. Initially, the seven dancers in white pants and skirted tunics evoke a herd of reindeer, prancing lightly, hands on head, fingers spread like antler. With their quick shifts focus, they call to mind animals in the wild, constantly alert to danger. Yet just as easily they evolve into some ancient Nordic tribe in a circle dance accompanied by the jingle of ankle bells. Choreographed by Diane Arvanites & Tommy Neblett, “Dievas Mannu” is a lovely, intriguing combination of the tame and the feral, set to the hauntingly exotic music of Finnish composer Wimme Saari. While his atmospheric electronics are infused with the mournful hoots, bays, howls, and growls of the natural world, modal vocals remind us that man is never far away.”

The Boston Globe

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Eyes Inside
Choreography by Diane Arvanites & Tommy Neblett, 2006

10 minutes
“It’s always a thrill to see Arvanites and Neblett dance together. Their duets reflect a striking artistic kinship and the new Eyes Inside, set to the third movement of Beethoven’s String Quartet #16, proceeds with a kind of elegiac, tender coupling. One always seems to be reaching out to the other as they come together and drift apart. Graceful lifts and supports play out through subtle shifts of weight and exchanges of energy. A head rests in an outstretched hand, an embrace doesn’t release so much as evaporate. More abstract, less contextually provocative than past duets, Eyes Inside feeds on the pleasure of the moment.”

The Boston Globe

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Troika
Choreography by Diane Arvanites & Tommy Neblett, 2006
20 minutes
“Troika”, consists of two contrasting trios. In the first, the dances are rigorously athletic, flinging themselves through space, into one another’s arms, and onto the floor with youthful abandon. The second trio features three members of Prometheus’ Elders Ensemble of dancers age 60-85. Though this trio begins like the other, the energy is controlled, propelled more by friendly camaraderie and mature grace than by the competitive edge fueling the younger trio.”

The Boston Globe

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The Queens’ Spectre
Choreography by Diane Arvanites & Tommy Neblett, 2004
Original music by John Kusiak / Set design by William Grainge
25 minutes
“The Queens’ Spectre featured four women in black velvet robes topped by white Elizabethean-style ruffs at the neck. Perhaps portraying Henry VIIIís tormented wives or the cats-cradle enemies that surrounded his daughters, the dancers were tethered to ladderback chairs that served as home base, building block, trap, and sometimes prison. The often erotic movement was freighted with powerful emotions and regret, as if these women were expressing their collective fate through convulsions or fragmented falls.”

Dance Magazine

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Solace
Choreography by Diane Arvanites & Tommy Neblett, 2005
25 minutes
“On the other end of the spectrum, Solace is an exquisite study of the dynamics of mature friendship … The four are interconnected, with fluid partnerships forming, changing, then re-forming. They come together as a group, arms gently cradling, supporting, and lifting with the gentle, thrusting shifts of weight characteristic of contact improvisation. Then they spin apart, only to be drawn back in, It is both poignant and playful.”

The Boston Globe

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Tabula Rasa
Choreography by Diane Arvanites, 2005
Commissioned by the Walnut Hill School
12 minutes
“Though the weekend’s performance was a Boston premiere, it was choreographed 13 years ago for 8 dancers at the Walnut Hill School. The works share a similar aesthetic, but while the Chopin gave “Lignage” disconcerting shifts of tone and thwarted focus, the repetitive quality of Arvo Part’s titular music gives Tabula Rasa a sense of cohesion. Time and again, the women sink into deep plies, arms stretching out like open wings. Weighted lunges and turns collapse to the ground then rebound into runs that send the women endlessly circling.”

The Boston Globe

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Far Fairer Hopes
Choreography by Tommy Neblett, 2005
Commissioned by Emerson Stage
20 minutes
“Far Fairer Hopes is a pastoral abstract dance for four women that suggests sweet simplicity. Set to the adagio of Schubertís String Quintet in C Major, it is full of sweeping lyricism, with long-lined balletic turns and extensions softened by elegantly curved arms. Itís unabashedly pretty, which is rare for Prometheus. But just underneath the glowing patina is an air of melancholy that gives the work depth – an arm draped consolingly over a shoulder, a cheek pressed to a bare back, two women nestling side by side, as if asleep. And one dancer is often cast apart from the others, as if enduring some private pain.”

The Boston Globe

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Anadimioupyia
(music and dance inspired by Tourettes Syndrome)
Choreography by Diane Arvanites & Tommy Neblett, 2004
Original music by Jonathan Hart Price & Remember Rockefeller Jazz Orchestra
Commissioned by The Modern Art Movement
30 minutes
“The movement material was singular, unlike anything else I’ve ever seen, and skillfully organized. At the philisophical level, the dance raises some fascinating issues. Why not present movement that has been previously been viewed as “illness” by society at large, in a theatrical context? In making this piece, you have smashed a big taboo, for which I applaud you.”

Theodore Bale

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Dreams
Choreography by Diane Arvanites & Tommy Neblett, 2004
Original music by John Kusiak
Set design by Richard Lindley and Jayne Murphy
1 hour 15 minutes
“Prometheus Dance’s provocative new ‘Dreams’, given its world premiere last night to a packed house at the Multicultural Arts Center, is rich in the kind of fantastical imagery that informs our most fanciful nighttime flights. Unlike many of Prometheus’ full-evening works, which deal with sociological themes and tend to be narrative in structure, ‘Dreams’ deals more in private fantasy, with collage-like imagery that unspools as a seamless series of short dances. While the structure is a departure for the company, the movement aesthetic is trademark Prometheus, rigorous athleticism complemented by vivid gestures tinged with an air of melodrama. It is a clever, compelling blend of the elegantly lyrical and the unceremoniously awkward.”

The Boston Globe

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Knowing We Can Never Know
Choreography by Diane Arvanites & Tommy Neblett, 2004
Set design by William Grainge
Commissioned by The Boston Conservatory Dance Theatre
25 minutes
“Ms. Arvanites and Mr. Neblett’s ‘Knowing We Can Never Know’, another premiere, takes Jose Limon’s narrative approach into the 21st century. It’s a roiling, boiling pot of emotion shaped not so much by patterns as by movement motifs. The dancers sprint from style to style with impressive ease, embodying some of them rapaciously, others more tentatively. A piece for eight set to Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet #8, the piece has a theme that asks: What is our reason for being in the first place? The set is haunting: four chairs with high ladder backs line the top of the stage. The mood is somber, the movement propulsive, though less so than in earlier Arvanites/Neblett works: here an air of acceptance softens the impact. Bodies roll, and legs step over them. Feet skitter under torsos suspended perpendicular to the floor. Momentum, not effort, drives the movement sequences; what follows is the necessary result of what came before.”

The Boston Globe

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Apokalypsis
Choreography by Diane Arvanites & Tommy Neblett, 2003
Original music by John Kusiak
Set design by Amanda Wagner & Beth Galston
Commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer Inc., Emerson Stage, and En Pe De Pedra Internacional Festival de las Artes (Spain)
75 minutes

“Choreographers Diane Arvanites and Tommy Neblett, Artistic Directors of Prometheus Dance, make powerful political theatre that hovers on the edge of tears. In their latest work, ‘Apokalypsis’, a smoldering look at humankind’s search for both peace and freedom from persecution that was inspired by the displacement of refugees worldwide, the two accomplish that by using incredibly propulsive yet technically rigorous movement and a Pandora’s box worth if images that float upon music ranging from John Kusiak and Giuseppe Verdi to traditional folk melodies. The end result is scenes that carry the grainy feel of a black-and white film, or a world that resides behind a veil of smoke and ashes. … The sentiment could have been trite, cliched. But in Noya and Neblett’s hands, it’s anything but. It’s riveting. … At a time when so much in dance both literally and figuratively has no spine, ‘Apokalypsis’ stands as an original.”
The Boston Globe

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Wreckage
Choreography by Diane Arvanites & Tommy Neblett, 2002
Original music by Daniel Orlansky and Rohan Gregory
12 minutes
“Tommy Neblett and Diane Arvanites presented an ominous duet called Wreckage. I knew I would adore it when I read the title in the program, and I wasn’t disappointed as the troubling duet unfolded. Their view of love has never been the sentimental, greeting-card variety and it certainly wasn’t here. Most of the action centered around a park bench, which Arvanites circled while Neblett moved his knees up and down. It’s a violent, crazy work perfectly accompanied by Orlansky’s didgeridoo and Gregory’s screaming violin. It looked haunting amid Brian DiMeo’s landscape of white branches.”

The Boston Herald

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Cage
Choreography by Diane Arvanites & Tommy Neblett, 2001
Set design by Peter Colao
Commissioned by Crash Arts for the Massachusetts Artist Grant Winners Concert
12 minutes
“The most moving work on the program was also the simplest. In ‘Cage’, Prometheus Dance co-directors Diane Arvanites and Tommy Neblett performed a slow motion duet inside a large metal cage designed by Peter Colao. To a poignantly tonal piano/violin piece by Arvo Pärt, the two are heartbreakingly alone, together yet separate in their own pain. They support one another, one body covering, cradling, lifting, turning the other with gentle exchanges of weight. Their solemn portrayal of resigned endurance is almost unbearably sad and piercingly eloquent.”

The Boston Globe

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“That Better Is By Evil, Still Made Better”
Choreography by Diane Arvanites & Tommy Neblett, 2000
Music by Antonio Vivaldi
Commissioned by Dance Umbrella for the 2001 Boston Moves Festival
20 minutes

“With Arvanites and Neblett’s “That Better Is By Evil, Still Made Better”, the audience was swept into a world of rumination, isolation and artifice with an underlying humanity that teased the soul. The dancers appeared barefooted in white wigs and baroque costumes. With music by Vivaldi and several lush sonnets by Shakespeare, the work has a setting-sun quality, like an opium addict who has resigned himself to his habit.”
The Boston Herald“At times the dancers moved very slowly, with their arms raised as if supported by the strings of a puppeteer. At other times they presented fast, dense unison ‘boogie’ phrases that matched the steady eighth notes of Vivaldi. And they also recited sonnets of Shakespeare with desperation and intensity, proving themselves worthy actors. This was dance-theatre at it’s best, with a sensation of acquiescent finality similar to Cocteau’s famous film The Last Testament of Orpheus.””
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The Past Is A Foreign Country
Choreography by Tommy Neblett, 1999
Commissioned by Emerson Stage
15 minutes
“The most powerful work was Prometheus Dance’s ‘The Past Is A Foreign Country’, a riveting portrayal of three women in a war-torn land. The dancers run and cower, then cast their eyes to the heavens and break into bits of folk dance, as if trying to maintain normalcy amid chaos.”

The Boston Globe

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Hell Bent
Choreography by Diane Arvanites & Tommy Neblett, 1999
Original music by Grayson Hugh
Commissioned by Dance Umbrella for the 1999 Boston Moves Festival
12 minutes
“Set to a powerful score, ‘Hell Bent’ opens with military marching that the choreographers elaborate on, in the most compellingly rhythmic dance this side of Twyla Tharp’s The Fugue.”

The Boston Globe

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Impromptus and Intrigues
Choreography by Diane Arvanites & Tommy Neblett, 1998
Music by Franz Schubert
1 hour 25 minutes
“This Schubertiade begins with a string quartet seated in a black square in the center of the stage. The dancers waltz around them creating an illusion of almost cinematic depth. As the dance becomes increasingly disordered and frenzied, the dancers veer further from this stable center, nudging against the edges of the floor, crawling onto window sills, pulling open the drapes to lay their cheeks against the cool glass, sliding down the ornate banister, even dancing in an ignored sink alcove. By the end, when one dancer up in the balcony has her movements echoed by another down on the ground, it makes perfect visual sense. They’ve gone as far apart as they can possibly go.”

The Boston Globe

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Glory Land
Choreography by Tommy Neblett, 1998
25 minutes
“Arvanites and her Prometheus co-director Tommy Neblett gave a superb performance of Neblett’s ‘Glory Land’, one of the most striking and powerful works in the company’s repertoire. Set to music from Neblett’s southern upbringing, from gospel to hillbilly, ‘Glory Land’ charts a relationship through courtship, complacency, abuse and redemption. Using movement that is freshly inventive and graphically expressive, the two portray passion, dependence, flirtation, violence, guilt, shame and ultimately transformation in a vivid passive-aggressive coupling.”

The Boston Herald

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Opposites
Conceived, written and narrated by Robert Kapilow, 1998
Choreography by Diane Arvanites & Tommy Neblett
Commissioned by the FleetBoston Celebrity Series
1 hour
“Kapilow and the talented Prometheus dancers got the audience moving in and out of its seats to simple (and some not so simple) patterns that become the basic elements of the final dance Prometheus performed. Kids and adults alike were moving, thinking and feeling in ways few had ever experienced before, and it was a terrific start to appreciating some of the building blocks of music/dance construction. If the Celebrity Series could get the funding to parlay this kind of program inot some conscientiously considered follow-up, it could have a stunning impact.”

The Boston Herald

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As I Was … As You Were
Choreography by Diane Arvanites, 1997
20 minutes
“Arvanites’ somber ‘As I Was … As You Were’ began with the two in turn-of–the-century waistcoats, their stately waltz lyrical and mannered. Shedding the coats, however, the relationship took a darker, rawer tone. The two rolled and tumbled with the tightknit closeness of contact improvisation, yet it was clear the movement was carefully crafted. It was as athletically vigorous and sensuous as the first section was contained.”

The Boston Herald

“But it was the duet of Diane Arvanites and Tommy Neblett, dancers and choreographers of Prometheus Dance, which distilled in the audience the greatest charm. Brilliant technique, fluidity, energy and the power of the bodies compound the elements that make American modern dance meant for the masses as well as for the pleasure of the eye and the spirit.”

La Provence, Marseilles

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Ecstasies & Devotions
Choreography by Tommy Neblett, 1997
1 hour
“Tommy Neblett conjures, in his newest dance, a dark night of the soul. Sprung from anger but lit by love, ‘Ecstasies & Devotions’ is a passionate political play – of coming out, of living fully, and of dying young of AIDS. It is an invitation to mourn loss while embracing life.”

The Boston Globe

“Though the dance/theatre work for two men clocks in at just under an hour, it manages to allude to a vast range of complexities and conflicts – love and loss, faith and shame, submission and control, hope and despair. That it does so without polemic and pandering is all the more impressive.”

The Boston Herald

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Descent
Choreography by Diane Arvanites, 1996
Music by Frederick Chopin
15 minutes
“Descent, for three men, shows the push and pull of opposing wills inside an individual. The trio, in canon and unison and two against one, appear never to disconnect, though they do, now shooting sideways from a single vertical line, now flying one over the other, prone and landing with smack. The men are able to move so fast and so impeccable because they anticipate the beat, making for an intensely musical display of force.”

The Boston Globe

“Arvanites’ riveting ‘Descent’ is a gorgeously fluid yet muscular trio for men that reflects the inner conflict within one personality. There is a dizzying blur of lyrical spins, athletic lifts and leaps, falls and recoveries as the three men split apart time and again, only to reunite in various configurations.”

The Boston Herald

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Herencia
Choreography by Diane Arvanites, 1996
Commissioned by the National Youth Ballet
20 minutes

“In its professional premiere last night on Prometheus Dance’s shared concert with the Marseilles-based Compagnie Itinerrances, ‘Herencia’ had a searing immediacy. Not only does the work pack a visceral emotional wallop, the movement itself is stunning, rich in imagery and rigorously, athletically aggressive.”
The Boston Herald“In the sense of highly crafted dancemaking, and in the global metaphors they want to project, their [Noya and Neblett] dance seems a throwback to the high-minded modern dance of the ‘50s and ‘60s. I thought these two group pieces [Herencia and Hell Bent] might have had some reference to punk-rock fashion, but they had even more to do with the anomie and physical realism of the great Anna Sokolow, whose bleak dances crystalized the type of the individual adrift in the pre-‘60s lonely crowd.”
The Boston Phoenix

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La Giornata Omicida
Choreography by Tommy Neblett, 1996
Commissioned by The Boston Conservatory Dance Theatre
15 minutes
“The second [La Giornata Omicida] casts five cookie-cutter women in a romping, stomping tour de force that veers between a celebration of girl power and a critique of the ideals of feminine beauty. The movement doubles as the score, as the dancers execute regimented rhythms and crack time into myriad beats.”

The Boston Globe

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Surrender
Choreography by Diane Arvanites, 1996
25 minutes
“Prometheus Dance smolders with the intensity of a slow-dying ember. That heat and eclipsed light was in evidence last night when Artistic Director Diane Arvanites presented her troupe in two of her own works and three by company members. Alluding to ‘The Wizard of Oz’, ‘Surrender’ takes the myth of happiness on the other side of the rainbow and turns it on its head. The accoutrements the choreographer employs intrigue: colorful dresses splattered on the backdrop, piles of red shoes that serve as everything from hats to weapons.”

The Boston Globe

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Shoot the Moon
Choreography by Diane Arvanites, 1995
Commissioned by the Massachusetts Cultural Council
for the Artist Grant Winners Concert
30 minutes
“Diane Arvanites’ dark ‘Shoot the Moon’, framed by streamers and bundles of newspapers, remains one of the choreographer’s strongest, most intriguing works. Tommy Neblett is part Messiah, part pariah with a quartet of dancers feeding into an expressionistic atmosphere that reeks of disaffection, desolation and confusion tinged with irony and humor. It’s potent, if puzzling stuff theatrically, with powerful, evocative choreography to match.”

The Boston Herald

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Mango Street
Choreography by Diane Arvanites, 1994
Commissioned by Dance Umbrella for the Boston Moves Festival
30 minutes
“The heat and light generated by the group’s seven explosive yet technically refined performers was nearly enough to warm my way home through the night’s subzero temperatures. Mango Street, which was inspired by writer Sandra Cisnero’s The House on Mango Street, combines song, instrumentals, witty text, a spare set and clever rhythmic movement in a series of alternately passionate and playful vignettes depicting private moments from a young womans life.”

The Boston Phoenix

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Straight to the Heart
Choreography by Diane Arvanites, 1993
Commissioned by Dance Umbrella for the 1993 Boston Moves Festival
20 minutes

“The charged partnerships meld anger to love as each member struggles out of the eye of the storm. Their methods run the gamut: the women guide the bent-over men by their necks, walking them like dogs. They dive over the men’s shoulders (or vice versa). They slam into their guts. The men suspend the women above ground their legs by crossing their arms and grasping their wrists; the women tread water helplessly. Arvanvites excels at group works like these, where a quasi-narrative line brings her theatrical talents to the fore.”
The Boston Phoenix“Arvanites pulls out all the stops with propulsive ensemble work, partnering where the pairs alternately seem joined at the hip and ready for murder, and an ability to exploit the tightly-wound tension built into the score composed by Miguel Noya. I liked the way the women held bunches of flowers like torches or trophies, and then threw them over their shoulders or at their lovers’ heads. An innocent gift brought home from the florist will never seem the same again.”
The Boston Globe

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Transient Landscape / Transient Man
Choreography by Diane Arvanites, 1992
30 minutes
“With Transient Landscape/Transient Man, the second half of last Saturday’s concert, she has revealed her own voice with powerful brilliance. While this work begins with the choreographers usual theme of the individual outsider pitted against a cruel world, it develops into an extra-ordinary depiction of oneness with nature and with each other. It is filled with longing for the unachievable. It defies ordinary analysis as Arvanites-Noya has taken everything she has seen and learned and somehow fused it to create a work of depth and originality. It is achingly beautiful.”

Bay Windows

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La Plena
Choreography by Diane Arvanites, 1991
20 minutes
“The most provocative work on the program was ‘La Plena’, Arvanites-Noya’s response to the persistent tragedy of domestic violence. Four women and four men paired up in a dance of hostility and anger. After Rebecca Marshall was brutally manhandled, the other three women plodded across the stage, one tethered by a clothesline around her waist, the other two making the motions of hanging up a man’s shirt. The most disturbing image was of Marshall writhing full length across the rope, tuning slowly like a pig on a spit.”

The Boston Herald

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Triangle
Choreography by Diane Arvanites, 1990
12 minutes
“‘Triangle’, the choreographer’s stunning portrayal of the convolutions of a lover’s triangle, featured a young bride clinging to her husband with manic desperation, often throwing herself at him as his attention wandered to the other woman, involved in her own solo of longing and frustration.”

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The Boston Herald

The Game
Choreography by Diane Arvanites, 1990
15 minutes
“The piece resembled game of musical chairs, but with one crucial difference. In the game, because there are always more people than chairs, the contest to gain chairs has real point. In the dance, however, everyone already possessed a chair. Therefore the battles were needless, wasteful power struggles. The intellectual implications of Ms. Arvanites’ work were as sharp as its movements.”

The New York Times

“In this deadly version of musical chairs, all of the world’s cynicism and cruelty is revealed, including your own. Because it is not bound to the specifics of one kind of cruelty done to one kind of person, it can reveal your own cruelty – or your own pain.”

Bay Windows

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