The McCarter Theater appearance presentation by the Jessica Lang Dance Company on Friday, November 16, presents area audiences with the opportunity to experience the work of one of the today’s most innovative choreographers as well as ponder architecture — specifically one Princeton University building.
The company’s “Tesseracts of Time” represents the collaboration of Lang, an internationally known dance figure originally from Bucks County, and Stephen Holl, the architect of the Lewis Center Complex across University Place from McCarter. The building opened in fall, 2017.
Holl says he created the set for four sections of “Tesseracts of Time” to correspond to the four types of architecture, and refers to them as “(1.) Under the ground (2.) In the ground (3.) On the ground (4.) Over the ground.”
In a promotional release for the dance’s 2015 premiere in Chicago, Holl Architects noted, “Both architecture and dance share a passion for space and light in time, however they are on opposite ends of the spectrum with respect to time. Architecture is one of the arts of longest duration, while the realization of a dance piece can be a quick process, and the work disappears as the performance of it unfolds. Here the two merge. Corresponding to the four seasons, but within a 20-minute period, the collaboration between choreographer Jessica Lang and architect Steven Holl merges dance and architecture in a compression of time and space.”
Holl often talks about the connection between architecture and music and leads the course “Architectonics of Music” at Columbia University. And in 2015 he shared with a reporter the following thoughts regarding designing for dance and Princeton University:
“I think in creative work you have to be open to every possible process. There’s always new work,” he said. “And that’s a totally new field, doing these sets for dance. It’s a dance for architecture. That brings up a whole new territory, in a sense. Where light and movement and the passage of another artist, the choreography moving through the architectonic becomes the total experience. I feel that architecture — the movement of a body through space — that’s the instrument of the measurement, space. And you can’t really photograph it. Tomorrow we’re going to go down to Princeton to this new quadrangle that we’re building and it’s fantastic because the space — finally, now — all the elevations are up, it’s topped out, so you can sense the great proportions of this space . . .
“I think it’s going to be an incredibly inspiring place. It’s all about the proportions and the light and the subtle play of movement. So, to work in dance you’re certainly seeing it in a different position: I think somehow that’s opening up some new territory. I’m thinking about how spaces could change and how they are made maybe in a more dynamic way from the standpoint of another art.”
Jessica Lang Dance, McCarter Theater, 91 University Place, Princeton. Friday, November 16, 8 p.m. $25 to $75. 609-258-2787 or mccarter.org.