|Released:||October 15th, 1997|
Some stories should be told at night. This tale unveils a dark erotic world where love and passion irresistibly drive the lives of its characters. Ririe Woodbury Dance Company presents Night Story, based on a magical realist short story written by Isabel Allende and choreographed by Della Davidson. Performed to English and Spanish narration, the story celebrates a young girl's coming of age in the mysterious world of her mother's boarding house.
The stunning, half-hour dance performance taped in the KUED studio was produced by John Howe.
Focusing on a love triangle between a daughter, her mother, and a boarder, Night Story captures the tension of unrequited love and the fine lines between fantasy and reality. The strength of the dance lies in its combination of drama, characterization, and abstraction, according to Shirley Ririe, artistic co-director with Joan Woodbury of the Salt Lake City modern dance company. "Each character has a separate theme which is interwoven throughout the piece. The music is made up of disparate pieces, and it was challenging to unite them into one cohesive supporting fabric to tell Allende's story, but it works beautifully."
Night Story, set to an eclectic collage of music, includes a surf guitar version of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire," composed by Dick Dale, creator of the score for the movie "Pulp Fiction." Dale's sliding, reverberating guitar leads into a Puccini aria from "Madame Butterfly," and Thomas Oboe Lee's sultry Latin work, "Morango... Almost a Tango," played by the Kronos Quartet.
The dance is based on Allende's "Wicked Girl," from a larger project, titled "The Stories of Eva Luna." Within the concreteness of the story's narration comes the magical realism expressed through the abstract dancing. Salt Lake Acting Company's Nancy Borgenicht, who narrated KUED's No Safe Place, reads excerpts from the Allende story in English off camera, while Juan Carlos Claudio simultaneously dances and narrates in Spanish on stage. "Bilingual narration illuminates the cultural universality of Night Story, while it honors the richness of the Spanish language that gave birth to the story," says Ririe.
Guest choreographer Della Davidson worked extensively with KUED to communicate her vision through television. Winner of the 1990 North American Choreographers Award among other honors, Davidson explores a woman's sensibility of the world through dance projects like Night Story. "For a small company like ours, it's important to supply audiences with very different styles," says Ririe. "But guest choreographers are also brought in for the dancers. We see them take on different roles and characterization when they have the chance to learn challenging new pieces."
From a producer's standpoint, translating dance to television is a challenge. "There are so many nuances in dance that it's hard to capture them all on camera," says Howe. "Cameras don't see the way our eyes do -- they're close-up and are more selective. So viewing dance on television is very different than a theatrical experience." But the linear story, excellent score, and stark set combine to make the dance a success on videotape. With lighting by Nick Cavallaro, and incorporation of the studio's industrial structure with the set, Howe generated the performance's dream-like mood and its wild, sensual feel.
"Night Story has been captured by the video medium in a remarkable way. The complexity of dialogue, the music from different composers, and the use of dancers as actors come off brilliantly. Bravo to KUED!" says Ririe.
Howe says that even viewers who may not be modern dance aficionados will be entertained by Night Story. "The program is as much a drama as it is a dance piece," he says. "The interesting story will engage viewers, and draw them in to the talented work by Ririe Woodbury's dancers. The project is just another way KUED showcases the high-caliber work of our local artists."
The program is made possible by the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.
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