Kelly Kleiman’s review of “Equal Footing/Equal Earing” (“Same Old Song and Dance,” 6/21) entirely missed the point of the series–and in its mean-spirited tone did much to set back any semblance of intelligent discourse on performance in Chicago. At the risk of being accused of sour grape syndrome, I write to rectify the skewed lens through which Kleiman viewed the performance.
The “Equal Footing/Equal Earing” series is a laudable attempt by curators Dave Pavkovic and Sheldon B. Smith to support integrity and creativity in Chicago’s cultural life by inviting local artists in music and dance to make new work together. This pairing of choreographers and composers reflects the great artistic relationships of Cage/Cunningham, Stravinsky/ Balanchine, and Copland/Graham. Link’s Hall supports the Pavkovic/ Smith initiative to encourage new collaborations in Chicago based on these honored models. Despite the historic precedents of the dance/ music relationship, live music is very rare in dance concerts these days, even by major companies. In my view, the current reliance by choreographers on prerecorded, store-bought music is sad because it fails to continue the long tradition of partnership between dancers and musicians.
Kleiman’s complaints about Carol Genetti’s vocalization in the improvised piece, whether or not the Smith/Lisa Wymore duet was really dance, and her confusion between hip-hop and postmodern dance genres are embarrassing and frustrating evidence of her lack of knowledge. What makes this even more exasperating is that this is the only critical review of a Link’s Hall Performance Series season that included seminal artists of importance and international reputation such as Pooh Kaye, Janis Brenner, Jennifer Monson, and JoAnna Mendl Shaw.
Incidentally, Kleiman was wondering if there was an elevator in the HotHouse: there is.