Dance professor Susan Douglas Roberts explores liveliness and defining virtuosity as a performer.
Susan Douglas Roberts once thought virtuosity was about “external achievement, what it looked like.” But the professor of dance spent a 2017 sabbatical exploring “liveliness and the ways in which virtuosity is defined during various eras of a performer’s career.”
Douglas Roberts presented a concert in August that featured dancers older than 40, including herself. “Measuring Time” was inspired by composer Gregory Biss’ tribute to Robert Schumann’s “Scenes From Childhood,” a collection of short piano pieces.
In deciding to develop the concert, Douglas Roberts said she thought: “What a great challenge it would be to make a very, very short dance and be able to compose a whole idea in a minute, or just over a minute.”
In 2017, Douglas Roberts worked with Biss to compose nine dances about time, each about a minute long. Seven pieces were performed live, two were recorded on video, and all were performed or shown in Maine, where the professor has a home.
Mercy Sidbury, now 63, hadn’t danced in 15 years, although she does tai chi and Authentic Movement, a practice in self-directed motion done with eyes closed.
Using slow movements, Sidbury and Douglas Roberts, 61, danced a duet in an expression of trust and weight-sharing.Read More