A dance to the future

An inspired evening of imaginary dances, starring such people as George Bush, Greg Nickels, and Hank Paulson.
An inspired evening of imaginary dances, starring such people as George Bush, Greg Nickels, and Hank Paulson.

Several weeks ago Science magazine challenged researchers around the world to interpret their research as a dance, to film it, and to put the results on YouTube. The resulting choreographic outputs are charming, and the full story and videos can be found here. Viewing the dance that explores 'ꀜsingle molecule movements of protelomerase talK-DNA complexes'ꀝ provokes the thoughts below as to how this choreographic approach could explore some of the financial and political problems facing Seattle and the country.

The Founding Fathers Dreaming. Among Aboriginal people of Australia, new dances are created by individuals who have gone back to what is called The Dreamtime — the time of the creation of the world when heroic beings roamed the landscape. For Aboriginal people The Dreamtime is still very much in existence today in the spirits of the land, in animals, and in geographic features. America'ꀙs own Dreamtime is the myth of our Founding Fathers. To rescue our beleaguered economy I suggest Timothy Geithner, Lawrence Summers, and Cristina Romer, Obama'ꀙs Dream Team, dance up a storm with pounding feet to a suite of minuets, dressed in powdered wigs and short pants. They will shake the earth and awake the spirit of Alexander Hamilton, that first great American champion of a central bank and a strong national economy. Hamilton will guide us through the current crisis. And as a special guest artist in his final stage appearance, there would be a nude emperor who has no clothes — solo turn by Henry Paulson channeling the spirit of Aaron Burr.

Martha Graham Presents. This stars the Seattle City Council in an interpretive dance inspired by visionary choreographer and drama queen Martha Graham. In black leotards and tights, with anguished movement and performed to the music of Aaron Copeland, the members of the council dance out the symbolic meanings and ramifications of the current three choices for the viaduct'ꀙs replacement. This vision of the birth of a new Seattle, reminiscent of Graham'ꀙs Chronicles of 1936, will have sets by Norm Rice, Paul Schell, and Greg Nickels — a jumble of crappy-looking buildings obscuring the audience'ꀙs view of the performers and of Puget Sound. The supporting Greek chorus, a la Graham, will be dancers from the Washington State Builders Association.

Twilight Tarantella, danced by George W. Bush and company. This Tarantella is a contemporary version of the frenzied Italian dance said to be inspired by the poisonous bite of a spider and the resulting convulsive movements. Its dance vocabulary is drawn from the last paroxysms of an administration hell bent on turning the country to their will even as they flail about uncontrollably from the bite of an aroused electorate. Watch out for the early appearance of a high-kicking chorus line of Anthony Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Kathleen Harris dressed in star-spangled silver lame judicial robes.

Mercian Cool, an homage to the intellectual, cool, zen master of dance, the always imperturbable, always hip Merce Cunningham. A solo for Barack Obama, of course.


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