February 10, 2011
Stepping Through History
By: By Corinna Da Fonseca-Wollheim for The Wall Street Journal
You could feel the occasional subway rumble underfoot inside the School at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, but the students remained focused on staying inside their "Baroque Bubble." "Remember, you are your cosmos!" their teacher called out as they advanced and retreated to the quiet strains of lute music. "You are taking that sphere with you when you move."
Catherine Turocy, the artistic director of the New York Baroque Dance Company, was teaching a workshop on historical performance and asking her students to visualize themselves as Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man: Just as in Renaissance theory the proportions of the human body give rise to perfect geometric shapes, the Baroque dancer moved inside an invisible sphere measured by the extension and movement of the limbs. "I think of the feet as almost fate," she said, demonstrating the Baroque association of the upper body with the heavens, and the feet and legs with the earth. "They show where you come from." (More workshops will be offered Feb. 19 and 26.)