Tonight: Sarah Skaggs meets Brian Eno in "Dances for Airports" | Arts

Tonight: Sarah Skaggs meets Brian Eno in "Dances for Airports"

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Sarah Skaggs was already at work on Dances for Airports when we interviewed her during a residency in Raleigh in March, 2003. The contemplated piece constituted a definite departure from previous hyperkinetic works like Prelude for Salome. At the time, she cited a recent re-recording of Brian Eno’s early exploration of ambient music, Music for Airports on live instruments by Bang on a Can as an inspiration:

“When they touch the piano, there is such a breath to the actual way it's touched. I'm trying to match that in my movement. It's just like I'm trying to capture and hold the air in my dancing from movement to movement," Skaggs said, "actually a kinetic response to the way they're plucking the instruments. It's such a challenge.”

Since then, the work was produced as a duet for Pittsburgh Dance Connection in March, 2005. Critic Jane Vranish noted that production drew on “imagery of flight and prayer” and “a simple but highly effective vocabulary that included images of flight with hand-clasping and semaphore patterns in a comforting and beautiful setting.” The result created “a visually iridescent palette, a silent language of gesture that reflects the constant ebb and flow of our interior environment.”

Skaggs re-premiered Dances for Airports as a solo work last September at the Shady Corners American Maverick Performing Arts Festival in Milford, N.Y.

Catch Skagg's M.F.A. performance of the solo version tonight in Schaefer Theater (one floor beneath Reynolds Theater) at Duke's Bryan Center, at 6 and 6:45 p.m.

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