1984 – Retrospective – selection of short duets and quartets created by Maida Withers for the Dance Construction Company, 1974-1984, presented by the Smithsonian Institution, Natural History Museum – overtones of feminist notions about WOMAN. Program in file.
Excerpts from dances included:
Yesterday’s Garlands and Yesterday’s Kisses, duet on stools; duet on gestures, 10 minutes.
Put on the Music Let’s Dance, Runway, 3 minutes; Dreamtime, 3 minutes;
Finale, 3 minutes
Woman See, Duet – Journey in Innocence, 5 to 6 minutes; Ties That Bind, 5 to 6 minutes.
Families Are Forever , quartet, 8 to 10 minutes
Mr. and Mrs. Sally Ride, duet 10 minutes
See technical information in files.
What the press is saying
"The program of well-chosen ecerpts chronicled Miss Withers' personal and always fascinating journeys in dance, as ell as changing attitudes toward family life and love." "The company serves as a vehicle for Miss Withers' explorations of mixed performance media - modern movement, experimental music, and avant-garde visual effects. Devoid of the multimedia trappings and intense psychological scenarios of the original works, the choreography could be savored as pure dance anchored by the symbolic interaction of men and women in the movement." "This was a rare opportunity to see the evoluton in Miss Withers' work over the years." Julie Van Camp
"Now that the Dance Construction troupe is about to celebrate a 10th birthday, Withers decidd it's time for a retrospective. Thus, excerpting older work for Saturday's program proved timely. It also turned out to have unanticipated benefits. The concentration and concision of the excerpts - in contrast to the more diffuse wholes-worked to their advantage. The program also offered a more compreensive view of Withers' and the company's artistic range. The selection, avoiding the purely formal side of Withers' choreography, were grouped together as "Dances on Men and Women" and explored gender relationships of the past, present and future. The amusing "Duet on Stools" from Yesterday's Garlands and Yesterday's Kisses, had a couple casually disrobing, with constant interruptions by stray thoughts and daydreams. Three numbers from Put on the Music and Let's Dance were whimsically stylized versions of '40s social dances. From the feminist Woman See came two duets - the blithely sensous "Journey of Innocence" and the love-hate vignette "Ties That Bind." Especially powerful was a quartet from "Families Are Forever" that probed generational and genealogical linkages. The new piece, Mr. and Mrs. Sally Ride, a duet for Withers and Brook Andrews, took off on the floating movement quality and the newly defined male-female roles evoked by space travel. The ohter dancers were John Bailey, Frances Stonkey, Dale Crittenberger, Susan Jamieson, and Susan Short. Like Withers and Andrews, they projected a strong sense of personal involvement." Alan M. Kriegsman