Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

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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