© copyright 2016 by George
The immigrant experience, alienation and assimilation were themes of Burgess’s pair of lecture-performance programs at Flashpoint, an exhibitions and presentations gallery in Downtown DC. As invocation there was Michio Ito’s 1914 solo to Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria”. It is almost a stepless dance. The arms are constantly, fluidly in motion. The body stretches, reaching up and up heavenward but also settles back down, a return to this world. The legs are lowered, one bending in a kneel and the other projecting backward, both actions sanctifying the ground. The performer’s face is attentive to a different life than the here and now. Sarah Halzak, new to this role, has the secret of the inward Da Vinci smile. Her performance was remarkable. Scenes excerpted from several of Burgess’s dance works followed, three on the first bill and a week later four more plus a repeat. Prior to each scene, Burgess spoke about the situations that prompted him to choreograph. Contrast among the excerpts was considerable in terms of drama, design and dance. Although space at Flashpoint is limited, the sum picture that emerged from the excerpts was bigger than that of any one of the complete works by itself.