Pam Tanowitz’s dances are deeply personal takes on movement grounded in tradition. Tanowitz takes ballet steps and alters them into modern forms: traditional movement is twisted and thrown off-center, challenging the expectations of the viewer. She wants the audience to observe the seams of her work, momentarily taking the “magic” out of theater and revealing the mechanical gears of performance. This is done without sacrificing elegance and it is an attempt to reveal the fragility behind our basic human need to strive for purity. Narrative is inescapable. No dance is a pure abstraction. We unconsciously assign motivation to the movers on a stage. Her work is a progression of pieces, in which one dance poses a question that is answered in the next. Form versus content, nihilism versus history, story versus abstraction are given equal play, yet she also treasures the visceral experience of full-bodied, technical dancing. It’s a fine line, but in showing the dance Tanowitz works to show how the dance is made.
Congratulations to Pam Tanowitz for winning a 2010 Bessie Award for her incredible piece, Be In The Gray With Me, which premiered at Dance Theater Workshop in 2009.