photo by Jennifer Glaws
Artist statement: I have over 100 works of repertoire. “Thrower of Light” contains some of my favorites from the
past decade and a few new ones too.
I look at the show as a collection of short stories that are an
expression of the human experience, and, in typical Cancerian style, are
emotionally dynamic and all over the map skittering from one tale to the
next. It’s like entering a cave
and shining light on the hidden corners of the psyche. Enjoy the ride!
Thrower of Light reveals tales from the hidden corners of the human psyche. Dare to enter the cave of total theater and ride thrill and deception in a chasm of emotion.
The production revisits two dance pieces Wombman and Phallousy from her Momentum show "Return" which had critics cry, "More please." (Camille LeFevre, Star Tribune Year in Review 2007). She continues to illuminate the gender experience with the regional premiere of The Demon Familiar, a journey into the Jungian philosophy of Anima/Animus featuring her own vocals and text in scores composed by 2007 Bush Fellow Matthew S. Smith.
"Wright, who is always unpredictable" (minnpost.com), also travels beyond the deep psychological caverns to a dynamic, brighter side with works Old Man, Feline Fever, and the comical Irish Pirate Madness.
Thrower of Light has an all-star cast including Rachel Barnes, Bryan Gerber, Alex Loch, Debra McGee, Jennifer Mack, Christine Maginnis, Kristin Ostebee, Sharon Picasso, Tim Rehborg, Teresa Tjepkes, Taja Will, and herself executing halting drama and riotous caricature.
This may be Wright's first Fringe performance, but she is no stranger to production. Please visit mnartists.org/Cathy_Wright and cwrightdance.webs.com
for a complete list of work at venues including the Walker Art Center's McGuire Theater, the Southern Theater, Bryant Lake Bowl, the Ritz Theater, Patrick's Cabaret, and many more.
Her ritual gothic-grunge aesthetics brings something new to the MN arts scene.
"Thrower of Light" is a collection of short stories:
Territorial Dilemma (premiere)
The Demon Familiar (premiere)
Phallousy and Wombman from 2007 Momentum Series Return (2007)
I Dream in Red- a short Dance for Camera (2000)
Feline Fever (2004)
Cannibal Mother (2006)
Old Man (2006)
Irish Pirate Madness (2005)
Fringe: Dance previews in a nutshell
By Camille LeFevre | Published Wed, Jul 29 2009 2:12 pm
The Fringe is on -- and dance is a part of it.
(Go here for detailed information and
"Thrower of Light" (Cathy Wright):
Several years ago, during the Momentum series, Wright seemingly came out of
nowhere with a dark, almost cabalistic piece that was both frightening and
riveting. I’ll watch anything she does, just to see what she’s up to.
"Thrower of Light," Thursday, July
30, 10 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 1, 8:30 p.m.; Monday, Aug. 3, 8:30 p.m.; Thursday,
Aug. 6, 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 8, 4 p.m.; Ritz Theater, 345 13th Ave. NE,
DANCE | WED, JUL 29 2009 2:12 PM | 1 COMMENT
for All Review part II
by Rachel Reiva | July 27, 2009 • Hello again
Fringe goers! Here is my second round of reviews from Fringe for All: The Frog
Prince, Professor Rudman, and Cathy Wright: Thrower of Light.
Cathy Wright: Thrower of Light
Tales from the hidden corners of the human psyche:
Dare to experience total theater of movement, film and voice that thrill and
deceive in a chasm of emotion where gender is illuminated.
Although I’m not a fluent in reviewing dance, I
have to say this looked really cool. The dance had a very hard edge to it. It
reminded me of Irish dancing with a pirate theme, since the costumes looked
pirate-like. You could see the emotions coming from dancers’ bodies, making the
dance dramatic and exciting to watch. I was very impressed. Normally, dance
shows don’t really catch my attention — not that I don’t like dance, but I just
don’t have a real interest in watching it. This one made its mark on me,
however, and I will see this show.
2009: Fringe-For-All 2 reviews (First 10 of 30)
by Matthew A. Everett | 7/24/09 • “The birds
are shining, the sun’s chirping…”
Thrower of Light
Thrower of Light reveals tales from the hidden
corners of the human psyche. Dare to enter the cave of total theater and ride
thrill and deception in a chasm of emotion.
This one was kind of a blur. A nice blur. But a
blur. No real narrative element to speak of, just a lot of boisterous dance for
the sake of dance (not a bad thing) from a band of what appeared to be 10 Irish
gypsies. I say gypsies because of the ragtag way they were dressed, and an
abundance of head scarves. I say Irish because the rock music to which they
were wriggling and strutting and flying through the air (and I mean that
literally) had a decided “Irish jig” quality about it. Plus there was a lot of
green (including the light they went out on – all done in under 2-1/2 minutes).
There was a heck of a lot of energy bouncing off the walls while they were
going at it.
It also started with one of those moments that
immediately bonds the audience to the people on stage. The perils of live
theater. It was time for the preview to start, and the light went on. But no
music. And the longer it went on, the more you could see the dancers twitch as
they were waiting. They couldn’t start til the music did. It was just seconds.
But you could tell for the performers it must have felt like an eternity.
Nobody’s fault. It happens. And once the sound kicked in they were off and
running. But that pause was loaded stage time. (I don’t know why, but I kind of
love that sh*t.)
Cathy Wright, the choreographer/dancer heading up
this show, trails a whole lot of good reviews and awards behind her, and all
her dancers have hefty little bios listed so it looks like we’re in for more
good Fringe dance.
The Fringe’s YouTube
page should have the Fringe-For-All clip up in the coming days, so check
back there and see for yourself. Meanwhile, we have…
Her websites – www.mnartists.org/Cathy_Wright and cwrightdance.webs.com
Her show page
of Light": A view
by John Munger | 7/31/09 • Cathy Wright’s
assemblage of eight dances, collectively entitled “Thrower of Light,” is a
scaldingly intense dance experience. She is spot-on when she self describes
this show as “Tales from the hidden corners of the human psyche.” With the
exception of the last piece, a welcome romp called “Irish Pirate Madness,” the
entire 58 minute show fearlessly plunges into maelstroms of power, loneliness,
aging versus youth, the secret inner pathways of personal evil, and the
struggles of seeking solid spiritual ground.
The cast is superbly rehearsed and highly skilled.
It includes Rachel Barnes (BFA from Univ of Kansas City and a national
performer), Bryan Gerber (who also performs with Ballet of the Dolls and ARENA
Dances), Alex Loch (who scored big as a senior from St. Cloud State at last
Spring’s Minnesota gathering of the College Dance Festival) Debra McGee (
free-lancer with several Twin Cities groups and formerly toured internationally
with Garth Fagan Dance), and Jennifer Mack, (pointe shoe ballerina with
Continental Ballet and seasoned modern dancer with numerous Twin Cities
Christine Maginnis (whose distinguished long career
with Zenon Dance Company is legendary), Kristin Ostebee (who also performs with
Jennifer Glaws and Out On A Limb Dance Company), Sharon Picasso (a seasoned
performer with degrees in dance from Boston Conservatory and connections to
half a dozen Twin Cities dance groups), Tim Rehborg (recent dance degree
graduate of St. Olaf College), Teresa Tjepkes (2008 U of MN graduate who also
performs with Justin Jones) and Taja Will ( a rising face on the scene with
performance and choreographic credits in USA, England, Mexico, and Japan).
Whew. I take the time and trouble to detail this
material about the cast because the dancing in this show is flawlessly
committed, skillful, in focus, and deeply affecting. It has been said that
first class people work with first class people but second class people work
with third class people. Cathy Wright is a first class choreographer and these
are first class dancers.
Several of the pieces in this show are excerpted
from larger works. In particular, “The Demon Familiar” features an extended
shape-driven solo in a tight spotlight for Cathy Wright herself, followed by an
intertwining duet for Rachel Barnes and Sharon Picasso. This piece cries out
most for continuation and completion. Other works, such as the macho
“Phallousy” for Alex Loch, Bryan Gerber and Tim Rehberg, can stand alone
despite having been excerpted from larger pieces.
If you’re new to dance you should be warned that
the high skills of choreography and performance in this show do not look like
Las Vegas flashy fun. But you should be encouraged, even urged, to go see this
show because this is no navel-gazing experimental self-indulgence of the sort
that has given “modern dance” a questionable reputation over the last 20 years.
This is a moving, enthralling, sometimes disturbing demonstration of what
modern dance can be as an instrument of virtuosity, expressiveness and power.
If you’re a regular dance-goer, don’t miss this
one. It’s delicious on many levels. But it’s also daring, controversial and
challenging. Different people coming from different well-informed aesthetics
will have varying views on this show. It’s a show that merits discussion. I’ve
already gotten an e-mail this morning from a colleague asking about my take on
this powerfully committed but very challenging work.
Two last comments. One is that Doris Humphrey
famously said that “All dances are too long.” This is sometimes true in this
show. But let me add that Cathy Wright brings two -very rare skills to this
work. First, every dance has an idea, which means that none are just movement
strung together and none ever look like they’re just filling up the music.
Second, it’s fairly rare and very welcome to see
performers who can invest the choreography with authenticity and commitment
rather than mannerism, empty use of technique, or slavish adherence to a style.
But it’s even more rare to see a choreographer who can create choreographic
material for her dancers with the same authenticity, commitment, skill and
openness to what the dance requires. She has the ability to make virtuosic
movement look as natural as walking down the street, and to make ordinary or
pedestrian movement look virtuosic.
Put this one on your schedules.
NOTE: This blog does not reflect the opinions or
policies of the Minnesota Fringe Festival, Dance/USA, nor anyone other than the
author. These are purely and utterly my own observations and views.
John Munger (email@example.com) has been performing, teaching,
choreographing, researching and writing about dance for about 40 years. He
teaches at Zenon, day-jobs for Dance/USA, and still hasn’t gotten much of it
by Lightsey Darst August 3, 2009
Dance critic Lightsey Darst will be sending in dispatches
and short reviews throughout this year's Fringe Festival. Here, she kicks off
our Fringe coverage with a brief on Cathy Wright's itch-and-grit movement
piece, "Thrower of Light."
Cathy Wright's "Thrower of Light"
On stage at the
Ritz Theater August 3, 6, and 8. Visit the Fringe website for more info:
IF YOU'RE STARTING YOUR FRINGE
AS I DID, after a long and tiring day, you could do worse than Cathy Wright's Thrower of Light.
Whatever you think of her work, she'll at least keep you awake as she goes
straight for the jugular‚ or crotch, or child self. Wright throws lots of moody
light and industrial/embryonic sound (mostly composed by Matthew S. Smith)
around her psycho-sexual ritual-dramas, which are full of heavy breathing and
muscle-clenching cross-body torsion, peppered with odd vocalizations, and so
deeply dug into the stage that you expect her to leave ruts.
Just because the dance is
emotional, though, doesn't mean that emotion always gets across. Wright tends
to just wham right in, no prologue, and sometimes it's hard to find an entrance
to her feeling. Who are these super-intense half-feral people? When three guys
apparently call a facemask penalty with one hand and grab their crotches with
the other, where am I supposed to be? Is this camp? Is it serious? Both?
Whatever it is, there's no
doubt about this: it's alive, and this makes me happy. Though she needs
dramaturgical aid (and help with names: come on, Thrower of Light sounds
like a bad fantasy novel), I wouldn't want Wright to quit mining her
pagan-anarcho-punk-feminist Tom Waits/Madonna/David Lynch itch-n-grit
aesthetic. The couple of pieces in this show that step outside that sphere are
banal, but in her deepest explorations of it (like "The Demon
Familiar," which Wright wants to expand into an evening-length work --
yes!), she really gets her black-polish claws into a crucial nerve.
And, just to show she knows
she's crazy, Wright finishes up with a punk-pirate romp. This is great fun
because everyone's whooping, one guy is caroming around stage in back flips,
and hey, who doesn't love a pirate? Or, given the current geopolitical
situation, perhaps a more appropriate question would be who doesn't love
Christine Maginnis in a black corset? I thought so.
Speaking of performers,
Wright's collected some serious movers who work to their last inch and drop of
sweat, such as Maginnis, Debra McGee, and how about Rachel Barnes? She was
utterly new to me, but clearly an old soul in her impassioned yet scrupulous
dance. Or Jennifer Mack,
who flings her Olive Oyl frame with abandon. (Aside to Ms. Mack: Don't think
your little odyssey across the TC dance scene is going unnoticed; I've been
enjoying seeing you try out every form you can find. But now I'm starting to
want to see you build something. It looks to me like you have more to give.)
Wright's performers wouldn't look so good without Wright's
movement, though. There's more solid movement invention in this concert than
I've seen in a while. It doesn't all work for me, as I've said, but there are
plenty of moments I'd like to see again. No mistake, Wright's spent some time
in a studio, exploring form and opposition -- bound/free, control/release,
pigeon-toed/turned-out -- all tending towards a technique of transformation.
The body undone and redone by life -- that's Wright's deep theme.
"Old Man" and "Full Moon Fever" to perform at Cabaret
"You Can't Bind White Angels"
'Wombman' in "Renovate" at the Ritz
The Demon Familiar
"I Dream in Red" A Dance for Camera by Cathy Wright
Admittance at the Ritz Theater 12/4-12/6, 2008
"Falling Through Changes" by Cathy Wright
Trisha Brown's Planes at the Walker Art Center
"The Danger Zone" at Bryant Lake Bowl
"Return" review by Camille LeFevre
9 x 22 Dance Lab Feb. 28, 2007 Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis MN
Zenon Block E 2007
"Cannibal Mother" at Bryant Lake Bowl
Choreographer's Evening 2006 Walker Art Center Minneapolis, MN
Dweller on the Threshold
Rolling Footage: Dance for Camera Festival February 9, 2007
Zenon Block E 2006
Cathy Wright Walker Art Blogger
Third Rabbit Dance Ensemble: Crash-test Relationships
Zenon Block E 2005
Broadway 2007 Roadtrip February 23 - March 4, 2007
Apple Valley High School Curricular Dance Program
Dance Film Project
"Thrower of Light"