CONFLICT, A BOOK, AND A DANCE
NEW YORK PREMIERE OF ROBIN BECKER’S DANCE, “INTO SUNLIGHT” BASED ON DAVID MARANISS’S “THEY MARCHED INTO SUNLIGHT” AT FLORENCE GOULD HALL, OCTOBER 25-27
Robin Becker didn’t blink when she decided to create a dance based on Pulitzer Prize winning author David Maraniss’s book, “They Marched Into Sunlight,” a 530-page cultural history of war and protest set in 1967. Becker’s result, “Into Sunlight,” a tour de force of imagination and emotional power, becomes remarkably relevant given the moral dilemmas America is currently facing in the world. The dance receives its New York premiere at Florence Gould Hall, Ocotber 25-27.
Maraniss’s book brilliantly examines two events that took place simultaneously– and yet worlds apart– on October 17 and 18 in 1967: The ambush of a battalion of young American soldiers in Vietnam, and anti-war protests that turned violent at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Pulling pivotal moments from Maraniss’s magisterial and humane book, Becker employs her poetic imagination to rework the fact-filled narrative material into a deeply affecting non-narrative dance. Elegiac, quietly defiant, radiant with love and loyalty, “Into Sunlight” is a dance of transformative imagination, intellect, and craft.
At Florence Gould, “Into Sunlight,” which commanded standing ovations at its premiere in Madison, WI in 2011, and then Washington DC in 2012, will be followed by talk-backs with Delta Company commander Clark Welch, who led the American soldiers into combat in October, 1967, author David Maraniss, and present Madison, WI Mayor Paul Soglin, one of the key figures in the student protest throughout the Vietnam War, and a leader of the Dow Chemical sit-in.
Robin Becker, Artistic Director, founded Robin Becker Dance in 1987. The Company is distinguished in New York City by performances at the Joyce Theater’s Altogether Different Series, St. Marks Church-in-the-Bowery, the Harkness Playhouse 91 Series, the Merce Cunningham Studio Theater, and the opening performance series of The Joyce SoHo. Ms. Becker performed with the Martha Graham Ensemble, the Pearl Lang Dance Company and was a principal dancer with the Eleo Pomare Dance Company. She also performed as a guest artist with many companies including the Denishawn Repertory Dancers at the Biennale Festival in Lyons, France. The Company’s current work, Into Sunlight, premiered at the Union Theater, University of Wisconsin/Madison, with subsequent performances at Georgetown University, the 92nd Street Y, and Hofstra University.
Originally from Chicago, Ms. Becker began her dance training with Bentley Stone and Walter Camryn. She continued her studies on scholarship at the Martha Graham School in New York City, and was mentored in choreography by Bessie Schonberg. Currently on the faculty of Hofstra University, Ms. Becker has also served on the faculties of American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, the Princeton Ballet Society, and the Actor’s Studio, Ms. Becker is an Authorized Teacher of Continuum Movement, an innovative field of somatic education based on the study of the body as a fluid system. She is also an accredited teacher of the Martha Graham Technique, and weaves her foundation of classical dance training together with the ongoing inquiry and discovery of contem¬porary dance. Her commitment to the exploration of movement and spirituality permeate her art.