Murray Louis — one of my favorite choreographers — died yesterday, February 1, age 89. Jack Anderson, long time dance critic for the New York Times, wrote the obituary, with this poignant description of a dance will resonate with many who have lost life companions — or who dread losing them. (Stephen Ministers, take note…) To quote:
One of Mr. Louis’s most memorable and moving works was created in 1994 as a memorial to Mr. Nikolais, his longtime collaborator and companion,who had died the previous year at 82. Mr. Louis titled it “Alone.”
In the piece, Mr. Louis never moved far from one spot, making the empty stage around him seem like a vast void. He kept turning from side to side, as if expecting someone to enter, but no one was ever there. Nor was there anyone to touch when he spread his arms wide.
From time to time, as he danced to recorded music by Astor Piazzolla, he clenched his fists, then bent over and drummed them quietly on the floor. Yet he always preserved his decorum and never exploded into rage or grief. Ending the solo, he slumped in dejection.