Tonight, at 8 pm at Annex Theater, a kick-ass piece of hiphop/modern dance* by kick-ass dancer and choreographer Markeith Wiley.
Using suit jackets, tables and chairs, and some text taken from Seattle city council meetings, the eight dancers of The Council play out power dynamics and internecine struggle. Wiley grew up street-dancing in Southern California (Long Beach, Inglewood, Inland Empire) before moving to Seattle to train at Cornish and dance in pieces by Ellie Sandstrom, Cruz Control, Saint Genet, KT Niehoff, and gender-queer burlesque artists. Wiley's aesthetic bandwidth is impressively broad, and it shows in his rich dance vocabulary.
Because I don't have a photo for The Council, here's a photo of Markeith:
- The Stranger
Check it out.
*Someone was flipping me some mild shit for using the term "modern dance" earlier this week, saying that the concept of "modern" dance began to be questioned by Merce Cunningham in 1952 and blah blah fucking blah. She seemed to favor the term "contemporary dance." But what am I supposed to say in this context? That The Council is "hiphop/contemporary dance"? Then what's the difference between hiphop and contemporary? Contemporary, by definition, is anything that didn't happen yesterday. The "modern dance"/"contemporary dance" schism is a foolish, academic matter of semantics. And if you stopped someone on the sidewalk in any big city and showed them a video of a Balanchine piece and a video of a Crystal Pite piece, and asked them what they were, what would they say? "Ballet" and "modern." So fuck it—I'm calling everything from Martha Graham to William Forsythe and Christian Rizzo (and probably beyond) "modern dance." At least until a better term comes along that doesn't look ridiculous next to the word "hiphop."