Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Dancers celebrate 20 years
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Dancers celebrate 20 years

For Pascal Rioult, the founder and choreographer of RIOULT Dance NY, the troupe’s 20th anniversary is no time to rest on its laurels.

Ross Boissoneau - June 16th, 2014  

“We’re preparing for our New York season right now,” Rioult said during a break in rehearsals.

Rioult founded the group in 1994; today it is recognized as one of the leading dance troupes in the nation, touring worldwide and presenting an annual New York season.

Interlochen hosts RIOULT Dance NY for a performance at Corson Auditorium June 26. The program will include “Views of the Fleeting World” (2008) and portions of Rioult’s Ravel Project. “Wien” dates from 1995, and “Bolero” from 2002.

“It’s music I love,” said Rioult of his fellow Frenchman Maurice Ravel.

Ravel’s most famous piece, “Bolero,” was originally composed for ballet. It consists of a repetitive riff or melodic line that gradually incorporates the entire orchestra. In the dance, Rioult sought to mirror the slowly building theme in the same way for the dancers.

Ravel began composing “Wien” (Vienna) in 1906 as a tribute to the music of Johann Strauss Jr. and the concept of the fantastic whirl of destiny. It morphed over time into “La Valse” and wasn’t finished until 1920. By that time, Vienna was in the midst of famine and epidemic in the wake of World War I, so the concept of destiny had taken on a bitter tone.

Rioult kept the waltz, but interrupts the smooth progress of the traditional circling movements with incongruous, at times violent movements. Thus the Viennese waltz, the very image of social refinement, becomes the symbol of a disintegrating society taken into a whirlpool of violence and humiliation.

“It’s like dancing on a volcano,” said Rioult. “It’s twisted until it tumbles apart. It’s a maelstrom of violence and release.”

A former star athlete in France, Rioult turned to dance and came to the United States on a fellowship from the French Ministry of Culture to study modern dance in 1981. After performing with the companies of May O’Donnell and Paul Sanasardo he was invited to join the Martha Graham Dance Company.

As a principal dancer with Graham, he interpreted many of the most prestigious roles in the repertory. In 1990, Graham created the central role of Death Figure in her ballet Eye of the Goddess for him.

Rioult formed his own company four years later to create his own dances, among them “Martha, May and Me,” in which he pays homage to his mentors O’Donnell and Graham.

Asked whether the dances or the music come first, Rioult said, “It depends. They come from the (existing) music, or I have the dance moves in my head, and from the dance images comes the music.”

Rioult said he likes to challenge himself by imposing arbitrary rules. “I try to give myself a challenge choreographically. The music of ‘Wien’ sounds like a whirlpool, so the dance is a circle.”

Rioult has found inspiration in nature, in Japanese wood blocks, in the music of Bach – sometimes all of this and more.

For “Views of the Fleeting World,” Rioult chose Bach’s “The Art of the Fugue,” melding Bach’s Germanic music with Asian motifs.

“Somehow, his extraordinary German mind went with Asian philosophy, Bach and the Japanese print,” Rioult added. “I don’t know exactly why.”

“As an artist, you work first on instinct. Eventually you find out why (you made certain choices). That’s the most exciting part of my job – the ‘Ah hah!’ moment.

RIOULT Dance NY includes ten dancers plus two apprentices (and unlike most touring dance troupes, RIOULT members are fulltime employees with benefits).

“My dancers are all there for me. They are hired and work all year together. It’s 36 to 39 weeks, six hours a day, five days a week,” he said.

Rioult is especially excited about a visit to Interlochen, where troupe member dancer Holt Walborn studied.

“We’ve wanted to be at Interlochen. It will be a great program.”

For tickets and more information, go to Interlochen.tickets.org.

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