new-york

Babette Mangolte

BROADWAY 1602 | Uptown

In Calico Mingling, 1973, a film by Babette Mangolte featuring a four-person performance on New York’s Robert Moses Plaza at Fordham University (choreographed by Lucinda Childs), there are moments when the deep focus of the director’s lens renders the dancers’ movements entirely ambiguous. Facing the camera, the performers are clearly all in motion (each with one foot stepping ahead of or behind the other); yet which of them move forward in space and which backward remains strangely unclear. As when a lens contracts, pulling the ground into the same plane as any figures within it, so the choreography shown here subverts our ordinary perception of spatial depth and, moreover, the hierarchies it produces—never allowing what stands ahead to fall totally away from what rests behind, but rather having them exist in dynamic counterpoint and even trade places on occasion, situated as they are in

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