-- By Tom Phillips
Copyright 2017 by Tom Phillips and Laura Peterson
“If your step has a name, keep working on it,” Laura Peterson tells her students. A dancer, teacher, and choreo- grapher of the 21st century, she has created a whole vocabulary of steps without names, drawing on modern dance, ballet, sports, physics, animal behavior and pure play. Endurance and resilience are job requirements for her company, usually three women and a man, always including herself. Their moves are physical, fast, often punishing. Knee pads are essential. Stamina becomes style.
She begins with a setting – sometimes outdoors, sometimes in, sometimes a combination, as when her company danced “Wooden” on a live lawn at the Here Arts Center in New York, or under a huge kite-like structure designed to collapse during their performance of “Failure.” (Above. All these constructions are made to order by her husband and long-time collaborator, Jon Pope.) Lately she has also been using her own abstract paintings, as a backdrop, a floor, or even a covering.