As American As Cherry Pie or How Dayna Hanson Star Spangled Me Dec 3, 2010
What better time in history than in our currently tea drenched political landscape, littered with the detritus of the American Revolution, could choreographer Dayna Hanson find an audience willing to throw themselves overboard for an eccentric piece of choreographic historical revisionism? Her latest effort Gloria's Cause takes liberties with the revolutionary war in order to conceptually question ideas of revolution, stripping bare (or pants-less) both our founding fathers and our iconic American Eagle, who I believe is originally represented as a chicken (knock me on the head anyone?) when she clucks her way onto the stage. It is a piece of Americana composed from pop choreography, indie-rock, and experimental theater that will keep you thinking long after the curtain call.
Gloria's Cause, apparently a homonym to "glorious cause" and an anachronistic term for The Revolutionary War, rides the edge of decency like a Tarantino film. Wether it audaciously steps over a line of historical veracity is beyond the point. Dance has never been subjected to the test of historical accuracy, but this piece is lusciously subjective, maintaining a pop culture meets history pastiche, yet on some wacked-out Jungian level it's all of a piece. Energetic, inventive, swaggering fun, Gloria's Cause is a consummate entertainment - rich in fantasy, blithely amoral, and unlike anything I've seen on the stage before.
Hanson is undeniably gifted with movement and prose that maintain architectonic solidity and painstaking precision leaving enough room to still assert her creative flair. Casually coalescing around conflicting images of our founding fathers in business suits caught with their pants down after engaging in board room shenanigans, an American Eagle in star spangled heels wearing a red bra and panties that earlier nearly rapes a pioneer woman in a chair; a drunken George Washington whom after a tussle with one of his soldiers over the facts of a battle refereed by a leather daddy, busts into break dance and robotic popping. Then like cannon fodder in the middle of the piece, bombastic Mogwaiesque musical throbbing accompanies a montage of iconic American images (culled perhaps from the Getty archive?). Where else but in America would these ideas undulate in rhythyms that somehow mesh together? The work is absolutely genuine, from the heart, powerful, and impeccably timed. Thanks Dayna for star spangling me, I'll never forget the experience.
- Adam Sekuler