Regular Art Scatter contributor Martha Ullman West, a noted national dance writer, went to see White Bird’s presentation of the Bad Boys of Dance at Portland’s Newmark Theatre on Thursday night. She was not amused. But as usual, her take on the performance is both amusing and enlightening. Here’s her report:
I’ve never much cared for dancing dolls, including those in the first act of The Nutcracker; Coppelia, in which there are a slew of them; and Petrouchka. Mary Oslund made an interesting piece with dolls as a metaphor of sorts some years ago — Reflex Doll it was called, and it was a witty antidote to The Nutcracker, since it premiered in December. And Mark Morris made an extremely unpleasant and powerful piece about child abuse called Lovey, in which his dancers performed with small, naked baby dolls.
But the Bad Boys of Dance really took the mickey on Thursday night when they came pouring onto the stage of the Newmark Theater in the fourth piece on a program of entertaining enough if derivative dances bearing life-sized inflatable mannequins (boynequins?) that looked a hell of a lot like sex dolls. And accompanied, for god’s sake, by a recording of Maria Callas singing the habanera from Carmen. The audience adored it. I wanted to walk out.