It always seems to me that the reason one reads a review is to get some sense of what happened at a performance one couldn't attend. When I read Kelly Kleiman's review of the Trisha Brown Dance Company ("Glimpse of Perfection," October 11), I had the opposite response. I couldn't comprehend how she could possibly be writing about a program I did attend, and found deeply moving.
Of the three works on the program, Ms. Kleiman only enjoyed Geometry of Quiet, the middle piece on the program, which she describes in fond words. I found this piece to be pretty, but innocuous, and certainly the fluffiest concoction on the program. Unfortunately, fluffy seems to describe Ms. Kleiman's aesthetic all too well.
She is quick to dismiss the music of Anton Webern that accompanied Ms. Brown's Twelve Ton Rose as "joyless" and "dessicated." I found the music extremely expressive and intense, almost uncomfortably emotional. In a piece that seemed to explore issues of personal isolation and the difficulty of forming attachments, this hyperemotive music gave a poignant quality to the dancers' interactions. All Ms. Kleiman can do is complain that the dancers "looked like people allergic to touch," without understanding that this might well have been a conscious choice on the part of the choreographer or an aesthetic decision that reflected contemporary experiences.
Similarly, Ms. Kleiman hates Dave Douglas's score to Rapture to Leon James for not being what she wants it to be and characterizes it as "ultramodern." I guess Ms. Kleiman hasn't heard much of the jazz created over the last 50 years, or she'd have realized how charming and accessible Mr. Douglas's music was. In the performance I saw, the dancers were having a blast, barely able to restrain themselves from laughing, they were clearly having so much fun in this piece. Ms. Kleiman saw only affectless seriousness.
Ms. Kleiman, unfortunately, comes across as shallow. Her review, as far as I can tell, is a self-congratulatory rant, and she justifies her point by saying the person sitting next to her felt the same way. Well, she clearly wasn't sitting next to me. It seems, in Ms. Kleiman's world, music and dance should only be happy, perky, easily accessible, and preferably all about hugging, fondling, and touching, with lots of smiling faces all around. That's not my experience, and if that's Ms. Kleiman's world, she must be on antidepressants.
Kelly Kleiman responds:
While I appreciate Mr. Abell's solicitude, there's no evidence that disagreeing with his views is a sign of mental illness